I join the national community in commemorating International Women’s Day 2019, and in celebrating women who are challenging the status quo, fighting for equality and an end to discrimination, seeking to build a more inclusive society here in Trinidad and Tobago.
While significant strides have been made in the struggle for gender parity, there is still much work to be done if the goal of achieving equality by 2030 is to be achieved. Today, we are witnessing a greater push to challenge gender stereotypes, and more women are taking up “non-traditional” roles, and raising their voices in calling for change. Women do face unique barriers, however, the issues that affect women affect all of us – safety and security, access to health care, educational and employment opportunities. It is critical that women are included in the decision-making process in developing solutions to these pressing issues. We must ensure that no girl or woman is left behind.
This year, a call is being made to “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change.” The latter, in particular, “Innovate for Change” is an area in which the party I lead, the United National Congress, has been focused.
My vision is of a transformed Trinidad and Tobago, in which our children, and all citizens can benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the global movement towards increased use of technology in all aspects of society, including the delivery of services to people.
Our women and girls must be encouraged to use their imaginations and fulfill their potential. They must be supported and inspired to become inventors, innovators, leaders in all fields.
The UNC plans to build on initiatives started under the Government I led, increasing the use of technology in classrooms, and including new subjects in the areas of information and communication technologies (ICT), coding and other digital skills. This would spark creativity and equip students with the ability to “Innovate for Change”.
I firmly believe that when women and girls have opportunities to contribute to making real change; to help shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impact their lives, we all benefit.
I reiterate my call for young people of all genders to step up and claim their space; to take up leadership positions in their communities and put themselves up as candidates, whether at the local level or nationally. I strongly encourage women to get involved in politics as we move to build a brighter future for our country.
As we commemorate and celebrate our nation’s women, each of us has a role to play in working towards gender equality. The Opposition will continue to work towards inspiring our women and girls to become leaders, and to work with all citizens in building a society of which we can all be proud.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition
8th March 2019