NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (March 6, 2020) — The following is an address made by Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health and Gender Affairs in the Nevis Island Administration, to mark the observance of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2020.
“Generation Equality: The Co-Existence of Men and Women”
It is a distinct pleasure, as Minister of Health and Gender Affairs, to be able to address you on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2020.
International Women’s Day presents us with yet another opportunity to reflect on the numerous gains that we have made in improving the lot of our women and to chart the way forward in establishing a new paradigm for gender equality in our society. Gender equality, in all its manifestations, is the hallmark of any well-functioning society and democracy. However, if we are to achieve true gender equality, then there must be meaningful partnership and co-existence of both our men and women; be it in the home, our places of work, in the schools and in the corridors of our parliament. This partnership and peaceful co-existence must entail men and women uplifting and supporting each other in helping to break down systemic barriers which have long hindered our societies from moving on to progressive pathways of excellence.
Twenty-five years ago, in 1995, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. This landmark document served as a lightning rod that would initiate action in helping to eliminate some of the pressing inequalities that existed. Inequalities such as unequal access to healthcare, the burden of poverty, violence against women and the sharing of power and decision-making at all levels. Though we have made significant strides, we still have much further to go.
The 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action therefore gives us cause to pause, to reflect and to consolidate. Indeed, it is particularly appropriate that we do so in the year 2020, which is equally synonymous with exhibiting vision and visual acuity. That vision must unveil itself in this the year 2020, as we chart the way forward over the next decade to achieve, in full effect, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda of which gender equality is at the epicentre.
At this juncture, each generation is often called, and rightfully so, to improve on the gains made by the generation prior. I therefore sound a clarion call for the next generation of gender activists to come to the fore and help us to address the unfinished business of working toward equality. Let us identify the areas where we have fallen short, for in closing the gender gap, our economy will prosper and our society will be the better. What is more, is that the gains will be greater when both our men and our women work hand-in-hand and do it together. I therefore ask everyone to consider the role that they can play in achieving a new generation of gender equality, as we seek to build a Nevis where every girl and every boy has the opportunity to fulfill his or her potential.
Happy International Women’s Day to all! God bless.