Opposition statement on International Women’s Day
The follow statement was issued by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2017.
NOW MORE THAN EVER, women are at the forefront of every aspect of life in Barbados today.
Whatever the profession, whatever the skill sets needed, our women have become qualified in it and are daily demonstrating their competence.
At the same time, unfortunately, there are still thousands of women who single-handedly head households and struggle daily to feed their children, pay their bills – in general, to make ends meet. This is what we see and hear as we move around the various constituencies across Barbados.
There have always been pockets of this, but the situation has worsened and is more widespread given the protracted economic malaise for the last nine years and Government’s inability to fashion policies to soften the blow on the most vulnerable amongst us.
The challenge for Barbados is to close this gap and ensure all of our women are afforded the opportunity to be trained according to their ability and interest in an activity that they can productively use to support themselves and their loved ones.
That is why we find this year’s theme for today’s International Women’s Day of #BeBoldForChange so appealing, because it’s a rallying call for greater action on issues that affect women from realising their true potential. These include domestic violence and teen pregnancy, and the negative impact these can have on keeping women and their children trapped in the cycle of poverty.
These are serious matters which need to be consistently highlighted and acted on if there is going to be effective change in the lives of thousands of Barbadian women. That is why we applaud those organisations that toil to make a positive difference in this area and encourage Barbadians to support their efforts in a tangible way.
This year’s theme also focuses on the overarching global agenda, “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. Here the respective United Nations agency, UN Women, are anxious about how technological advances and globalisation are changing the world of work and the implications this can have for women. Their concern is based on the growing informality of labour, unstable livelihoods and incomes, and the various fiscal and trade policies which can hurt the most vulnerable in society.
Each of these topics are actually bread and butter issues which are the daily reality for many Barbadians, both women and men. They are not abstract concepts. They need to be addressed within the context of a holistic economic development plan that addresses and answers the hard questions, then details a course of action to take.
We can no longer continue to talk about what is wrong and do little else to fix it. The implementation deficit that has dominated public affairs in recent years in Barbados can no longer continue if we are to resolve urgent matters.
As a woman, I view the annual commemoration of International Women’s Day as a chance to focus on the social, economic and political achievements of women here. Quite frankly, they have been many, and as a society we can be justly proud. However, we need always to be mindful that as long as one woman has to suffer in silence, is abused, violated or ill-treated whether at home or work, it is a blight on our society.
After all, women are the care givers and incubators of the future. They are instinctively hard wired to be future focused. It is because women have these mandates that when injustice is levelled on a society that they often raise their voices in an effort to redress the imbalance. They are prepared to say enough is enough and are ready to step up to show they’re fed up because they feel the pain most.
Anything that goes against the advancement of women strikes at the heart of a humane, inclusive society. We urge that this special day be used to reflect on the advances made by Barbadian women and to project what more can be done to uplift their status.
And this Saturday we hope men and women turn out in their numbers to show their disgust at the incompetent management of this country by a Government whose policies have disadvantaged scores of families. (PR)