Here’s a message from the Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre (a member of the 51% Coalition) regarding International Women’s Day celebrations. It is going to be fun and informational. So do join us on March 7!
The Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC) will this year host a “Women’s Expo” in commemoration of International Women’s Day (IWD) under the theme “Women & Girls: Making it Happen”. The Expo will be held at Founders Park at the University of the West Indies (UWI) on Saturday March 7th, from 10 am to 4 pm.
This second staging sees partners the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, Institute for Gender and Development Studies (Mona Unit), United Nations Population Fund and Young Women’s Leadership Initiative collaborating to execute an all day woman-focused event.
Several companies are being invited to exhibit and promote their products and services that cater to women and their families. The day – supported by sponsors National Health Fund, Hair Loss Clinic of Jamaica, Jamaica National Building Society, Scotiabank, Cari-Med and Blue Janitorial Care Services – will feature exciting booths, a farmers market, stimulating presentations, spot prizes and giveaways and live entertainment.
VOX POP: “What does International Women’s Day mean to you?”
IWD allows us to recognize and celebrate the phenomenal contributions of women in society while standing in solidarity for and raising awareness of the many pressing issues affecting women across the world. Some of these include: issues for the girl child, education and training of women, violence against women and girls, human rights of women, institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women and women’s sexual and reproductive rights.
Females comprise 51% of Jamaican population and the world at large, so a day such as IWD is rather fitting and significant, and it is certainly exciting to know that all around the world people will pause for a day to spotlight women and girls. Being female to me is synonymous with fierce confidence, big courage, unrelenting strength, quiet power and vivacious energy, and so I am truly happy and proud to celebrate women and girls under the global theme of “Make it Happen”.
Ms. Justine Harrison, Communications Officer, Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre
Afrikan women have played and continue to play significant roles as leaders advocating on behalf of men and women both inside and outside their communities. IWD is for me a day to pay tribute to our ancestor warrior women who were tortured, raped and killed in defending our right to exist as human beings. It is a day to remember stalwart sisters in the struggle who remained undaunted in the face of insurmountable challenges and who paved the way for younger generations of women like myself. It is a day to highlight, reflect on and share stories of resistance to systems of classism, racism, imperialism, ableism, sexism and homophobia. It is for me the day we collectively gather in the diversity of our sisterhood to acknowledge our historical and contemporary struggles for improved social, economic, and political conditions.
As a mother raising an Afrikan female child, IWD carries deep symbolic significance. It offers hope—hope that one day because of women’s global advocacy, she will live in a world of heightened gender awareness, where she is no longer relegated to the realm of sub-personhood or told by boys “You are strong for a girl” or that “Girls don’t play football”. IWD represents hope that one day, my daughter, and all the daughters of the world will see their rights and full potential recognized globally.
Dr. Adwoa Onuora, Lecturer, The Institute for Gender and Development Studies, Mona Unit, UWI
Women continue to make significant strides to change their lot and advance gender equity. They continue to challenge patriarchy and to close the gender gap in education, industry and politics. IWD is an opportunity to celebrate these strides and successes. It is a day on which we pause to reflect on how far we have come and where we have to go. It is a day to highlight the significant efforts that have gone into securing equality between the genders in various spheres of life. It is a day on which we celebrate the men and women who have championed women’s rights.
Despite the many real and perceived gains, many of our sisters continue to struggle to have their voices heard. IWD is therefore also a day of advocacy – when we bring attention to the inequalities that still exist. It is a day on which we amplify the calls for gender justices in all parts of the world where women continue to be denied access to proper reproductive health care, the right to choose the person they marry and the right to an education. So IWD is a day of solidarity when we get together and strategize to advance the cause.
Wherever women gather for IWD, whether a party, a lecture or a road march – the energy is positive, there is a sense of unity and hope that reminds us that our dreams for equality are valid. IWD is a day when women laugh and cry together, empower and affirm each other in celebration of being women!
Ms. Ayesha Constable, Youth Advocate, Young Women’s Leadership Initiative