Monday is International Women’s Day, a day when the world’s focus will be on women, irrespective of whatever field of endeavour they are involved in. It is a day when the exploits of women around the world are either lauded, encouraged, strengthened (either by an injection of cash or expert assistance), frowned upon or dismissed, depending on the endeavour women are engaged in, and the cultures in their respective countries.
Here in Saint Lucia, the situation will be more or less the same and with COVID-19 still around, the focus on women will take the same route as other celebratory days of last year – the virtual route.
Compared to previous years there seems to be a lack of momentum leading up to Monday. Perhaps the pandemic is to blame since it could throw a wet blanket on things.
But be that as it may, let us never forget that our women, the Saint Lucian woman, does have a major role to play in the building of this nation. And many of them have answered the call to help build this nation, standing side by side with the men and sometimes alone.
A cursory look around will reveal that our women can be found in almost every, if not all, fields of endeavour in this country and in many tasks most of our men would shy from. Look no further than the provisions market where 90 percent or more vendors there are women, a place that is truly Saint Lucia’s ‘melting pot’. We could also point to the health sector where women dominate and in our learning institutions where our women and girls outperform their male counterparts.
The hierarchy of almost every institution in this country has felt the strength of a woman. In some institutions, the unseen pillars holding them up are made up of mostly women.
When it comes to the home, that institution which is responsible for the restoration, preservation and uplifting of humanity, or at least that’s where such a task should commence, we find women shouldering the lion’s share of the work.
We understand clearly that the society we live in is made up of families, households out of which stem the wellbeing of the nation, the prosperity of the nation. We also understand that the fabric of a nation, whether it is well-stitched or in tatters, depends upon home influences. Women can be found in plenty, heading homes where they are weighed down, shouldering the roles of both mother and father.
We invite all our women to take a bow because of the role they have played and continue to play in building the nation. We view their participation in this effort as an important, not to say essential, ingredient in achieving the type of equitable and prosperous nation our founding fathers envisioned.
So far, our women’s participation in helping steer this nation has led to stability, a factor we all are very aware of.
We call on every strata of the society to show concern for our women and girls and not take advantage of them, evidence of which are regularly portrayed on social media, particularly the advantage taken on our young girls, some of whom are clearly unable to discern the wrongs perpetrated on them.
Our advocacy for women’s inclusion in the various spheres of nation-building is also a call for the rest of us to recognize that such inclusions augur well for whatever improvements we are searching for in making life better for all of us in Saint Lucia.
And so, we call on women to continue doing what they do and never be afraid to run for public office, sign petitions, be outspoken critics of corruption – particularly in government, join the police force, serve as judges, magistrates. Be teachers, doctors, masons, welders, supervisors, managers, road contractors, mothers, wives and the list goes on.
If our goal is to establish a more equitable society then our women should not be afraid to step up and step out. Their participation is crucial.
To the women of Saint Lucia – We salute you!