Recognizing the achievements of women

By Jasminee Sahoye.
The Caribbean Camera celebrates the contributions women here in Canada and around the globe have made in creating and inspiring positive changes as International Women’s Day (IWD) is observed on March 8.

It’s a day to reflect on how far women have come in what has been perceived as a male dominated world. But, that is changing, as more women are playing key roles not only in the homes as they are known to do, but in every spheres of life, be in the corporate, social and political landscapes.

Our community has produced some dynamic women, who have been trailblazers in several aspects of life, and to all of you; The Caribbean Camera salutes you.

In the area of politics, there is Michaelle Jean, Canada’s former Governor General, Jean Augustine, the first black woman to be appointed in the Parliament of Canada and as Ontario Fairness Commissioner. Others include Zanana Akande, the first black woman to be elected a member of Ontario’s parliament, Mary-Ann Chambers, who has served as an MPP and Cabinet minister in the Ontario legislature, Senator Anne Cools and Dr. Hedy Fry, a MP in Vancouver.

There have been significant strives for women in the Caribbean. Two countries, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago have women as their heads of state. There are countless women across the region who hold key leadership positions in different sectors. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women says IWD is a day to “recommit ourselves to working harder for gender equality, together as women, men, youth and leaders of nations, communities, religion and commerce.

This year’s UN theme is Equality for Women is Progress for All.

“If we act decisively, with the knowledge that empowering women and girls and supporting their full participation can help solve the greatest challenges of the 21st century, we will find lasting solutions to many of the problems we face in our world. Major challenges such as poverty, inequality, violence against women and girls, and insecurity will be addressed substantially,” says Mlambo-Ngcuka. She added, “Women spend the majority of their income on the well-being of their children and family. Raising women’s labour force participation increases economic growth. By ending women’s poverty, we will sustainably and significantly reduce extreme poverty worldwide.”

Each year International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8. The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women’s groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day.