Break the Bias

Tuesday 8 March is International Women’s Day. It is a day when most countries of the world recognise the achievements of their respective women citizens, especially those who are blazing their own historical trails. On that day as well, recognition is also given to the plight of women, especially those women who are not treated as equal partners to the men in their respective countries.

On that day the international focus will be  on women and girls, especially those in countries where they encounter difficulties in getting a proper education, difficulties in engaging in entrepreneurialship and in areas set aside as the domain of men.

Tuesday of next week is not just another day for the women of the world, as has been the case over the years. It is also a day when the international community speaks with one voice to countries who violate the human rights of their female citizens.

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International Women’s Day is not lost on Saint Lucia. As part of the international community, Saint Lucia too recognises the day, sometimes in a grand way, other times in ways considered less grand.

Despite that, Saint Lucia recognises its female nationals who are inspiring others to do better, make a difference and evoke change. That is why come Tuesday Saint Lucia will join the global celebration that highlights the achievements of women who champion economic, cultural, sporting, political and social causes worldwide.

Bur how far have Saint Lucia women come? Is work still needed to be done in Saint Lucia in dismantling inequality between males and females? Further, are there any inhibitors preventing Saint Lucian women from earning the same amount as men doing the same type of work? Are there obstacles in Saint Lucia which prevent women from breaking the proverbial glass ceiling? And is equality strictly a women’s issue in Saint Lucia?

We recognise the sensitivity of these questions and for fear of stepping on some toes that might evoke a storm, we will not provide answers to them in this column. However, we would like readers to ponder on them and express their views in the comments section of our website: thevoiceslu.com

We at THE VOICE join with those who are celebrating the amazing women in our midst who have devoted themselves to changing the economic, social and political landscape of Saint Lucia. We take our hats off to our market vendors (females are in the majority) who brave whatever nature throws their way to provide us with the organic foods, meats and vegetables which grace our tables.

We bow to our female politicians, not those who are in politics for their own self aggrandisement, and to be honest we have had some of those, but to those who have the people’s welfare at heart.

We say thank you to our female social workers (they too are in the majority), and those socially conscious women in the private sector, the organisation ‘Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc.’ comes to mind, as it constantly agitates to improve the conditions of those women and girls who are desperately in need.

The women who today occupy the various ranks within the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, we say thank you for your contribution to our society. Your contribution is as valuable as that provided by any other, irrespective of the high office that ‘any other’ may hold.

The 2022 International Women’s Day theme is: #BreakTheBias. It is a call to free the world of bias, stereotyping and discrimination and replace it with a world where difference is valued and celebrated, a world that is diverse, equitable and inclusive and, above all, a world of equality.

The call is made to break the bias in our communities, workplaces, schools, etc. We support this call as we believe that bias, whether unconscious or deliberate makes it difficult for women and men to move ahead. Where bias exists, action is needed to level the playing field as simply knowing of the existence of bias is not enough to change anything.

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