WOMEN’S WEEK 2017 Celebrating 50! Reflecting! Evolving!

anguillian
By anguillian March 13, 2017 15:31

 

 

Fellow Anguillians
It is my privilege, as Minister with responsibility for Gender Affairs, to address you as we celebrate Women’s Week 2017. This year, in keeping with the celebrations marking the 50th Anniversary of the Anguilla Revolution, we showcase the lives of several women born in the year of the revolution. Over the coming week you will hear their reflections on their early years, as well as their perspectives on their personal development and Anguilla’s path to progress. These women, like all women, have a story to tell. However, their stories are made even more relevant to us because they are stories of Anguillian women who have been bequeathed a legacy of courage, strength of character, independence, enterprise, tenacity and self-confidence. While they will be in the spotlight for this week, the week is really a celebration of all women; our sacrifices, personal triumphs, professional accomplishments and contributions to humanity.

In Anguilla, we are privileged to have come from generations of women who were at the forefront of Anguilla’s development. Our women were the ones who kept our homes and country afloat while the men were at sea or overseas for many months, seeking to eke out a living. Our women picked salt, pounded rocks, fished, raised livestock, planted and harvested, operated small businesses while successfully raising and educating generations of well mannered, God-fearing, enterprising children. Women have been the bedrock of our families and the advocates for social justice and change in our country. It is no surprise that Anguillian women were key participants in the Anguilla Revolution as activists, accomplices, warriors and guardians. Their voices chanted with hope and aspirations for a better Anguilla for their children and future generations. They could not and would not be silenced.

As a result of the battles successfully fought by those before us, thankfully in Anguilla women do not face the same types of discrimination that are still so prevalent in other parts of the world. The laws of Anguilla seek to protect and promote equality for all women. We already enjoy equal access to education, equal pay, the right to hold property, vote and to hold political office. Our girls are not forced into child marriages, trafficked as sex slaves around the world, or subject to genital mutilation. We are in control of what happens to our own bodies. There is much that we have to be thankful for.
While it is important for us we celebrate how far we have come, it is equally important that we remember and advocate for those women around the world who face terror and discrimination on a daily basis. In whatever way we can, from whatever platform is available to us, we must speak up and speak out on their behalf. Global change is usually a stimulus for local change and I am certain that many of the rights that we enjoy now were the result of changes in global perspective. This interconnectedness means that right here in Anguilla we can play our part in advocating for women’s rights across the world.

Additionally, in relation to Anguilla itself, we cannot become complacent. Despite the strides made, women in Anguilla are still disproportionately affected by domestic and sexual violence. We are still subjected to lingering stereotypes about our role and place in society. These stereotypes result in us being less present in traditionally male dominated areas such as politics, business and technical-based occupations. Like those before us, we have an obligation to break down any real or perceived barriers that may be hindering us, our daughters and granddaughters from pursuing our dreams or realizing our potential. We too must be activists and warriors for change and social justice. The legacy which has been bequeathed to us must be passed on to the next generation of Anguillian women. They must stand on our shoulders, confident that they have been equipped with the knowledge, courage, independence, strength and tenacity required to be pioneers, catalysts for Anguilla’s development and authors of their own destiny.

It is my hope that this celebration of women’s week will also be a call to action for all women who call Anguilla home, to ensure that through our example, we pass on the values necessary for the next generation of Anguillian women to flourish. A blessed Women’s Week 2017 to all.

(Published without editing by The Anguillian newspaper.)

anguillian
By anguillian March 13, 2017 15:31

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