More Protection, More Opportunities, More Access for Women & Girls says CARICOM Secretary General in IWD Message

More Protection, More Opportunities, More Access for Women & Girls says CARICOM Secretary General in IWD Message

March 9, 2023 – When the Secretary General of CARICOM gave her address on International Women’s Day, it was as a ceiling shattering woman herself; she carried those tuned into her five-minute presentation on a journey which shone a bright light on the lingering adversities which prevent women reaching their full potentials.

It is our annual celebration of International Women’s Day and Dr. Carla N. Barnett, the Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in her tribute to women, congratulated women who have come a long way through the opportunities being created through Innovation and Technology.

“In celebrating International Women’s Day with a focus on technology and innovation, we must not lose sight of the many issues that stand in the way of achieving women’s equality, such as women’s political participation, unpaid care and domestic work, impact of climate change, and gender-based violence which is a public health crisis in the Region. According to the global average, one in three women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence at some point in her lifetime, usually from an intimate partner,” said Dr. Barnett.

For as far back as we can remember, women have always been marginalized by the socially constructed idea of patriarchy which gave way to issues of gender-bias, leading to gender inequality, and gender-based abuses.

In 1910, Clara Zetkin suggested that on the 8th of March, working women should be celebrated for their achievements at the International Socialist Women’s Conference in Copenhagen. Since then, March 8 has been dedicated to celebrating women. In 1911, the first ever Women’s International Day took place; over a million participated.

Now, modern women have access to greater opportunities but still face insurmountable odds, depending on where they are in the world and what goals they are seeking to achieve.  The idea of male domination is old, but alive and kicking.

“Technology and innovation are opening new avenues for women and girls, thus contributing to gender equality in several ways.  Through digital platforms and online resources, women and girls are gaining access to educational opportunities and career paths that were previously unavailable to them. This is particularly true in underserved communities where traditional barriers, such as geography, culture and a lack of resources can prevent them from pursuing their dream,” she said.

This year’s IWD theme is: “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.”

Dr. Barnett, who in April 2021 became the first female Secretary General of CARICOM, spoke on the ongoing eradication of gender inequality, one of the recurring issues recognized on International Women’s Day.

She highlighted the effectiveness of this year’s theme in being instrumental in fighting gender inequality by opening doors to females of all ages positioning them to be that driving force in the advancements of their communities, their world.

“Technological advancements are making education and training more accessible to women, particularly in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) fields.

This provides women with more opportunities to participate in the workforce, which can lead to greater economic independence, empowerment, and higher pay.”

And not just better pay for a better life, but improved standards of living and access to quality services.

“Innovations in medical technology also promise to improve women’s health outcome, and access to healthcare services, such as new treatments for reproductive health, remote monitoring of pregnancies and telemedicine services,” said Barnett, who acknowledged the regressive and dangerous conditions for women and girl children in regional Haiti.

“As we observe IWD this year, our thoughts and prayers are with the women and girls in Haiti who are experiencing the most gross violations as they are targeted by gangs who are ravaging and killing them with impunity. Protecting the women and girls must be a priority,” she stated.

Barnett wants to see more women hired at the world’s leading companies for innovation; she wants to see a drastic drop in physical and sexual violence against Caribbean women in particular where studies show one in two are abused and the Sec-Gen is calling for and end to these age-old anguishes, which are barriers to women blossoming fully.

  • PublishedMarch 18, 2023

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