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Posted: Wednesday 8 March, 2023 at 10:34 PM

Official address in observation of International Women’s Day delivered by Minister of State responsible for Gender Affairs, Hon. Isalean Phillip

By: Hon. Isalean Phillip, Address

    Greetings, fellow citizens, nationals, residents, viewers and listeners.


    Today, On March 8th each year, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis recognises and celebrates International Women’s Day. This year’s theme, DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” brings to the fore the many achievements of women in STEM - science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. Globally, we are recognising the advancement of women in the areas of transformative technology and digital education as integral areas for innovation and development.
    Women’s contributions in all areas of socio-economic development in St Kitts and Nevis are pivotal. We must value and honour the pioneering women, the leading women in different fields – sports, education, business, agriculture, politics. As a result of these contributions, our society has steadily shifted culture and beliefs that women are to be home-bound and only concerned with domestic responsibilities or in caretaker roles. The increasing involvement of women in other and all roles, especially areas traditionally dominated by men, is imperative if we are really to achieve SDG-5 -Gender equality and equity.
    Fortunately, in St. Kitts and in Nevis, our education system continues to incorporate innovative and technological changes in order to stay in sync with education in the digital age. It is the commitment of this Labour Administration to reinstate the laptop program in our public schools to equip students with devices so they can stay abreast of learning in the digital age. If we wish to reduce the digital divide between males, females and the older and younger generations it is important for us to provide the technological resources to support this thrust.
    In our high schools and 6th form colleges, students are afforded equal opportunities to pursue studies in STEM and to date, there are more females studying in this area than there are males, which is an indicator of our federation’s progressiveness when it comes to women’s empowerment in this regard.
    - It is a known fact that women worldwide continue to face many unfair challenges in key areas of social and economic development. Here in our small corner, we have been successful in eliminating many of these difficulties for our women. However, there still remains a significant amount of work to do if we women are to play more than a supporting role in our own advancement.
    - There is an African proverb that says:“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” As women, we have an extraordinary responsibility to work together in order to achieve permanent positive social and economic change. The term “empowerment” does not merely reference us acquiring high-level jobs in the public and private sectors such as managerial and CEO positions, or Permanent Secretaries and government ministers. Empowerment at its core is also personal; it calls for supportive sisterhoods that involve more meaningful levels of appreciation, connection, and community involvement.
    -Similarly, a key aspect of women’s empowerment is the need for women to form support systems for each other simply because we are women, and many of our struggles are identical. It calls for us as women to look beyond the trivial differences between ourselves and see that we have more in common than we tend to admit. It compels us to practice tolerance and mindfulness, to be kinder to each other. Women’s empowerment urges us to understand that our words are the psychological keys that either unlock confidence and high esteem or lock us into different levels of insecurity.
    -  The growing involvement of women and girls in STEM has resulted in the creation of spaces that provide access to the technological tools that impact our educational, emotional, and socio-economic development. This has resulted in many of us attaining the ability to improve varying aspects of our lives by utilising this increased access to information. While this year’s International Women’s Day theme invites us to celebrate all that women have achieved in STEM, it also reminds us of the continual gender gap in that arena. I want to take the opportunity to encourage more women and girls to engage in careers that focus on information technology, computer engineering, coding and advanced mathematics.
    - As a sovereign nation, our greatest contribution to international change is to become a leader of change nationally and regionally: we have to be the change we want to see. Those of us who can, do; those of us who can’t, teach. As women and members of society, we must continue to demand the best from ourselves and each other and work together to realize our fullest potential.
    In closing, I encourage us to continue pressing for progress; establishing new norms in education and technology; and shattering the glass ceilings in corporate spaces. Society as a whole owes our future generations a better world, and such can only be possible when the developmental and socioeconomic contributions of women are encouraged, recognised, respected, and supported. Let us all continue to chart the course toward creating a future of equality, inclusivity, and equity for all.


    Happy International Women’s Day 2023!






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