The Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams
The Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams

Minister of Gender Affairs marks observance of International Women’s Day 2018

From the NIA

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis – The following is an address by the Honourable Hazel Brandy-Williams, minister responsible for gender affairs in the premier’s ministry on the occasion of International Women’s Day, observed on March 8:

Citizens and residents,

It gives me great pleasure to address you on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2018. This annual event celebrates women’s achievements the world over and encourages societies to push forward toward gender equality and female empowerment.

As minister of gender affairs, I am pleased to add my voice to the chorus of a rapidly increasing congregation [that] is valiantly championing the cause of our women. Across nations and continents, women serve as the backbone of societal order and as critical change agents in engineering development.

I am heartened to see the elevation and mainstream attention that the gender agenda has received in recent times, particularly since the onset of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

In spite of this increased focus, however, women are still confronted with various challenges. Too many women are still subjected to sexual harassment, sexual abuse and violence. Too many women are still locked out of the corridors of our parliament and the chambers of our boardrooms. Too many women and indeed, too many young girls, are still yet to realize their true value, potential and inner self-worth. This must change, and to be sure, the crusade for change continues.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Press for Progress: Transforming Women’s Lives.” It is a theme [that] is most appropriate and fitting as it evokes a sense of urgency. It reminds us that even in the face of growing recognition and achievement, we can’t become complacent, but rather, now more than ever, we must come together to motivate families and friends, and press forward.

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2018 and with a view to continue our bid of transforming women’s lives, the Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs will host a variety of activities throughout the month of March. These activities include our “Health is Wealth Seminar for Women and Girls” on March 8 at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church Hall from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

March 9 is designated as “Wear Purple Day,” where we ask all entities, public and private, to encourage their workers to wear something purple on that day in a show of support and solidarity with our women.

On the 10th, we’ll worship at the Mannings Seventh Day Adventist Church. On the 17th, we will have a Bike-A-Thon/Walk-A-Thon from the Villa Grounds through the streets of Charlestown to Pinney’s Beach and back. This will be followed by our International Women’s Day Motivational Seminar for Women and Girls on the 20th at the Occasions Entertainment Centre, where we will invite the participation of young women in an exciting confidence building session.

On the 23rd, we ask everyone to rally with us through the streets of Charlestown to the Villa Ground, where you will be treated to live and enriching performances with powerful messages and uplifting themes.

Then, on the 29th, we close the month of celebration in grand style with a cocktail and awards ceremony at the Nevis Performing Arts Centre, where, this year, we will be honouring our women in small business.

I am persuaded that the calendar of activities before you touches on key gender and development issues, and represents a most exciting blend of entertainment, enlightenment and education. As minister with responsibility for gender affairs, I therefore make a special appeal for you to join us in the cause of uplifting our women and by extension, uplifting our nation.

Exciting times lie ahead and I encourage everyone to be a part of this equally exciting journey. With the support of you, our stakeholders, I am confident that 2018 will serve as yet another memorable instalment of progress, where we didn’t just give token recognition to our women, but we were able to positively impact and transform women’s lives.

Let us go out and PRESS FOR PROGRESS!

Thank you.