Grenadian women are being encouraged to dream big, value themselves and make good choices in their lives as the country joined the rest of the world Sunday to celebrate International Women’s Day under the Theme, “Make it happen.”
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development and Housing, Elizabeth Henry-Greenidge used the occasion of a national address to make a clarion call for “every woman and girl of this nation to dream big, value yourself and make good choices”.
Henry-Greenidge urged her female counterparts to always seek to command respect and also show respect to others.
“Stand up for what is right and just. It is when you present yourself as someone with good character you would garner support in what you do”, she said.
According to the female PS, it is “through positive attitude” that “society would evolve into one that we can be proud as we aspire build and advance as a great nation”, adding that, “our boys and girls have become victims and are displaying a level of immorality previously unseen in our society.”
“We are faced with a huge challenge of managing our children’s access to disturbing images on the Internet,” she said.
“As Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development and Housing, I take this opportunity to appeal to you to desist from this practice, she said.
“Please use the technology available to you for the advancement of your education skills, community and country, she remarked.
Henry-Greenidge noted that women continue to excel in academics and taking the top jobs on offer in every sector of the society.
“Many are of the view that the strength, industry and wisdom of women remain humanity’s greatest untouched resource yet women remain second-class citizens in several countries throughout the world”, she told the nation.
“Women and children are kidnapped and coerced into becoming victims of the sex trade, cheap labour, the military or what is called modern day slavery. They risk their lives crossing borders for want of a better life…women and their families are torn apart by tribal and religious wars causing then to fleeing to distant lands as refugees,” she said.
PS Greenidge pointed to the words of the theme, which she said is “powerful and can inspire women to become champions of their destiny as they continue to forge ahead for decent work, better standards of living and access to goods and services.”
This year the Grenada National Organisation of Women (GNOW) partnered with the Ministry of Social Development and Housing to host a series of activities leading up to and following March 8.
According to GNOW’s Project Coordinator, Lorice Pascal the move was aimed at raising greater awareness in Grenadian communities of women’s rights in every aspect including gender equality.
Pascal told THE NEW TODAY newspaper among the activities held were a workshop on international human rights and gender-based violence, and a benefit concert which received support from several youth clubs and corporate entities.
“The curtain raiser for us was a Men’s dialogue where we looked at issues of inequalities, in particular relationship inequalities of (how)men treat their women and what they can do as men to make the change, how they as men can be champions for change”, she said.
“We wanted to highlight how the villages and communities can take the equality paradigm and use it in the space in which they occupy,” she added.
Meanwhile, former Minister for Education, Franka Alexis-Bernadine shared some words of advice when she delivered her speech at the recently held Convention of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in St Andrew.
“Women in Grenada represent a large group of people whose skills and potential remain largely untouched,” she said, noting that they also “have great strengths and resilience to absorb and stabilise our society.”
The senior Congress member exhorted women to “be the best that you can be wherever you find yourself. Make sure those children get that education – hold those families together, look for opportunities to help each other and improve your skills”.
“Spread love and goodwill, not rankle and hate. Step out with courage, grab opportunities when they come, and do have a happy International Women’s Day.”
The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911 following the designation of March 8th by the United Nations (UN).
It is celebrated throughout the world to highlight the achievements as well as raise pertinent issues affecting women’s human rights.
“This is a vital year for advancing the cause of women’s human rights,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his 2015 message.
“The international community is hard at work on establishing a new sustainable development agenda that will build on the Millennium Development Goals and shape policies and social investments for the next generation,” he said.
“To be truly transformative, the post-2015 development agenda must prioritise gender equality and women’s empowerment. The world will never realize 100 percent of its goals if 50 percent of its people cannot realise their full potential, he added.
`The UN top civil servant stressed that “when we unleash the power of women, we can secure the future for all”.