A day for women
By KARL E. CUPID Tobago Bureau Saturday, March 9 2013
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WITH WOMEN IN MIND: Several persons availed themselves of pamphlets and other paraphernalia available at booths along the Brian Lara Promenade in Port...
THE Tobago House of Assembly (THA) is to institute a “Fifty for Fifty Women” awards programme to honour women for their contribution to the island’s development and the advancement of women over the past 50 years.
Secretary of Health/Social Services at the Assembly, Claudia Groome-Duke made the disclosure as she saluted Tobago’s womenfolk for their invaluable contribution to the country’s development, in an address on the occasion of International Women’s Day celebrated yesterday.
Observing that “we live in an age that increasingly recognises the talents and achievements of women”, Groome-Duke, who is also Leader of Assembly Business in the THA, specifically pointed to the contributions of several women who were now serving at the highest levels of government, business and humanitarian organisations.
Among them, she listed Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar; THA Deputy Chief Secretary/Secretary of Tourism and Transportation Tracey Davidson-Celestine; Opposition Senator Shamfa Cudjoe; former Government Minister Pamela Nicholson; former Assemblywoman Cynthia Alfred, all in the field of politics.
Dr Eastlyn McKenzie (Educator); former Scarborough Hospital Medical Director Dr Maria Dillon Remy (Medicine); attorney Deborah Moore-Miggins (Law); Beverley Ramsey-Moore and Marie Toby (Pan); and Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Josanne Lucas (Sport).
Groome-Duke noted that while growing numbers of women now lead countries and business companies, women were also generally expected to be the primary care-givers for the weakest and most vulnerable in society. She said the United Nations recognises that women continue to provide the majority of care to children, the elderly, communities, directly, and through non-governmental organisations (NGOs). “Women continue to shoulder such responsibilities — big and small, public and private — and in most societies women must balance obligations at work, at home and in their communities”, Groome-Duke asserted, noting that as one of several women in politics and as a policy-maker, she was fully aware of the complex challenges in managing multiple roles and meeting professional and family duties. “While I have met many terrific female business and government leaders, I have been most impressed by all women who have dedicated their lives in the development of our people as they continue to develop our country”, she stressed. “It is in this regard that we will launch the ‘Fifty for Fifty women’, where we do hope that the population in Tobago will select and nominate their stalwarts for an award in recognition of the ‘Advancement of Women’ over the last 50 years”. She however did not go into details of the award scheme. Groome-Duke added, “Today (Friday) I wish to recognise the women of Tobago, who strive daily to protect and care for their families, their communities, their country, and their world. The only real avenue we have of ending violence against women and children is through the recognition of the contribution of these women”, she stressed. At the same time, she noted that while the Division recognises that the empowerment of women was critical to progress, “we are aware, however, that challenges such as gender-based stereotypes that deny equitable access to opportunities, resources, assets and services continue to exist, and the Gender Affairs Unit (of the Division) has been given the Herculean task of ending these incidents. Now is the time for us to take action to eliminate the scourge that continues to negatively impact the fabric of society”, Groome-Duke declared. Activities to mark the annual observance included a parade featuring detachments of female Police and Fire Officers, and other uniformed voluntary groups and schoolchildren through the streets of Scarborough culminating at the Milford Road Esplanade where a formal ceremony was held.