8 March 2021
On this International Women’s Day, I draw attention to our mission to achieve gender equality.
It has been a long and challenging journey, but I can attest to many successes along the way.
Things have changed for women and girls. In so many ways we see the fruit of our collective work to create a nation that values women and girls; and enables them to achieve their potential and contribute to nation building in any way they choose.
In Jamaica today, a young girl is free to make her choices and to live as a liberated, confident woman. Whether she wants to be the Prime Minister, a Cabinet Minister, the Attorney General, the Chief Justice, the Director of Public Prosecutions, or the Public Defender — she can aspire towards any leadership position in Jamaica today. But more than that, she has seen women of distinction in these leadership positions during the last few years.
I am proud that more women are being empowered to offer themselves as representatives and that more and more are being elected.
I am proud that there are more women today that are making decisions in the board rooms, particularly in Government where board membership must comprise at least 30 per cent of either gender.
I am proud of women’s achievement in education, but we need more women to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths.
And we are grateful for the many women who are frontline workers in the fight against covid-19.
However, the pandemic has shown or has caused inequalities — particularly when it comes to women. Many women have lost jobs; or have had to leave employment to care for children or the elderly. And violence is still a horrific reality for some of them. But if we continue to work together, we can eliminate the violence and enable all women to live their best lives.
I am certain that the future of Jamaica is linked to our ability to enable women to achieve their full potential. Therefore, today as we celebrate women in leadership everywhere, let us commit to accelerate our actions towards achieving an equal future in a covid 19 world —particularly in enabling us as women to achieve economic independence, which is so critical to us building back stronger.
Happy International Women’s Day.
Olivia Grange, CD, MPMinister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport