An Equal World is an Enabled World! According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, “Equality is about ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents.”
No one should have fewer opportunities in life because of the situations they were born into, the land that they are from, their beliefs, culture or whether they may have a disability. The theme for this year International Women’s Day which is being celebrated on Sunday 8th March 2020 is quite appropriate. The Girl Guides Association of Dominica (GGAD) has celebrated its 90th Anniversary in 2019 and as an elder in the society, we understand the need for having an equal world and the opportunities it will bring forth once achieved.
Over the past 90 years we have seen women of all social classes, races and regions advance in life. Most times these advancements did not come without pain and pressures. However, with the assistance of others, these women were able to make it up the ladder and in turn give back to those who assisted and the wider world by extension.
An example of such a woman who have contributed to the Dominican society because of the opportunities granted to her is Dame Mary Eugenia Charles better known as the Iron Lady. Many persons were of the view that she was not a good fit to run the little island. She spent numerous years in the opposition facing harsh criticism even to a point that her personal life was being analyzed and decried on all angles.
The question, which we beg to ask though, is ‘What is wrong with a leader who chooses to be single with no children?’ and our answer is ‘Absolutely nothing!’ Hence, whilst others did not approve of her leading the country, many supported her to hand the baton to her to lead the nation. She essentially broke the gender bias by overcoming all odds to become the first female Prime Minister in the English-speaking Caribbean. 2020 is being recognized by the United Nations (UN) as a crucial year for advancing gender equality worldwide especially in light of the fact that the global community is currently taking stock of progress made for women’s rights.
Collectively, we can all forge women’s equality – sooner and faster. Thankfully gains have been made, but there’s still much to achieve on many fronts.
Therefore, in light of International Women’s Day 2020 a number of exciting and important missions were launched, aimed at:
- raising greater awareness about issues impacting women’s equality
- taking a stance to call out inequality while working to forge more positive action
- highlighting and applauding where important gains are being made
- celebrating women’s achievements and accomplishments.
The GGAD supports all of these missions, especially the mission: To champion women of all backgrounds who dare to innovate, lead, and uplift others towards a more equal and inclusive workplace and continues to advocate for inclusion of women and young girls in all spheres of life and have provided platforms for these women to blossom. We have specifically targeted the schools as we believe that the goal of being a whole woman begins at the youth or adolescent stage.
We expect that as we grow older, we will be able to provide more platforms for greater development in gender equality and more specifically, women’s rights in Dominica and the Caribbean Region by extension.
Individually, while we are responsible for our own thoughts and actions, we must actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements. There is strength in numbers and collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.
We salute all GGAD women and young ladies and look forward to seeing women’s rights and gender equality continue to take center stage in 2020. Our appeal to you is to find ways in which you will be able to help forge a gender equal world.
We encourage all to celebrate women’s achievements, especially those that are greater stereotyped as persons who are not expected to advance in any way.
Continue to raise awareness against bias and act for equality.
An Equal World is an Enabled World!
Nadia Riviere Public Relations Officer
Girl Guides Association of Dominica