PORT OF SPAIN:--- In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2018, the City Hall of Port of Spain was transformed into a ‘Women’s City Village’ for one day, on Wednesday 7 March, as part of a week of activities showcasing women. The theme of this year’s IWD is the 'Time is now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives’.
The day began with a power-walk around Woodford Square, as a show of solidarity and unity for the promotion of the rights of women and girls. This was followed by the official opening of the City Village, where several rural organizations had the opportunity to showcase their initiatives, products, and services in a vibrant Marketplace.
For this occasion, ECLAC Caribbean joined forces with the University of the West Indies, other UN agencies, including UNFPA, and local organizations including the Network of Rural Women Producers Trinidad and Tobago to support the InterClub of Trinidad and Tobago, in highlighting the contribution of rural women across the country.
ECLAC Caribbean Director, Diane Quarless, indicated her conviction that there is immeasurable untapped potential for rural and urban women. “With just a little help we can empower our women and girls to allow them to become more independent in both their economic and personal decision making. Today’s event is an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of sisterhood, kinship, and solidarity, that will no doubt bolster individual and collective resolve for the work that will still need to be done when we leave this place,” she said in her opening remarks.
She stated that while women have made important advances in several aspects of life, across the Caribbean there is still work to be done towards achieving gender equality and autonomy for women and girls in the context of sustainable development. There is room for improvement with regards to women’s access to and control over productive assets, such as land and capital. This includes strengthening the institutional infrastructure, such as national women’s machineries and effective gender policy frameworks, to promote the integration of gender perspectives in national development.
Quarless added that promoting gender equality and the empowerment autonomy of women and girls of all ages is a daily imperative. “We advocate that without gender equality, development is neither genuine nor is it sustainable.”
This unique event was organized to target those women and girls who are sometimes left out of development initiatives, while also sharing some key success stories. In this regard, the event featured discussions and information about health and wellness, including sexual and reproductive health, food security, microenterprise development/entrepreneurship and financial management.