In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day - We Salute our Women

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day is an op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate the achieve­ments of women glob­ally while call­ing for greater equal­ity. The Women of In­dus­try, Sol­i­dar­ity and Em­pow­er­ment (WISE), cel­e­brate this oc­ca­sion un­der the theme “Make it Hap­pen”. Ev­ery 8th day of March we cel­e­brate In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day. This trib­ute will take a twopronged recog­ni­tion of women: Po­lit­i­cal and so­cioe­co­nomic.

His­tory records that: 1) The first fe­male mem­ber of the United States of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives was Jean­nette Rankin of Mon­tana in 1917. 2) Miriam A. Fer­gu­son and Nel­lie Tay­lor Ross be­came the first Gov­er­nors of the United States. 3) Frances Perkins, when cho­sen as the first fe­male Cabi­net Min­is­ter, ush­ered in a new era for women in pol­i­tics. Since then, many women have made their mark in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics with Hil­lary Clin­ton, Con­doleezza Rice and Sarah Palin be­ing the most re­cent and no­table.

In the world of pol­i­tics, women went on to hold high of­fices:1) Sir­i­mavo Ban­daranaike be­came the prime min­is­ter of Sri Lanka in 1990 and suc­cess­fully com­pleted her five-year term. 2) Indira Gandhi be­came the Prime Min­is­ter of In­dia and held the of­fice from 1966 to 1977 and again from 1980 to 1984, when she was as­sas­si­nated. 3) Golda Meir was the Prime Min­is­ter of Is­rael from 1969 to 1974. She gained pop­u­lar­ity as “Iron Lady” of Is­rael. 4) Is­abel Marnez de Peron be­came Pres­i­dent of Ar­gentina and was in of­fice for two years. 5) Mar­garet Thatcher be­came prime min­is­ter of Bri­tain from 1979 and re­mained in of­fice for three con­sec­u­tive terms. 6) The west­ern world was still more tol­er­ant to women than the east, but it did not stop Khaleda Zia and Be­nazir Bhutto head­ing con­ser­va­tive Mus­lim na­tions Bangladesh and Pak­istan re­spec­tively.

Women of Africa, a con­ti­nent where male supremacy con­tin­ues to be preva­lent, have been suc­cess­ful in tak­ing up the man­tle of lead­er­ship. We salute: 1) Pres­i­dent of Liberia, Ellen John­son Sir­leaf. 2) Pres­i­dent Joyce Banda of Malawi. 3) For­eign Min­is­ter Ar­mina Mo­hamed of Kenya. 4) For­eign Min­is­ter of Gam­bia, Her Ex­cel­lency Su­san Waf­fia Ogoo. 5) Head of State of the Cen­tral African Repub­lic, Her Ex­cel­lency Catherine Sambu Pan­zana 6) The five Cabi­net Min­is­ters in Al­ge­ria.

We also honor the trail blaz­ing ef­forts of some other out­stand­ing women in con­tem­po­rary po­lit­i­cal his­tory: 1) Co­ra­zon Aquino, first Fe­male Pres­i­dent of the Philip­pines and first Fe­male Pres­i­dent in Asia. 2) Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal-Ar­royo, Sec­ond Fe­male Pres­i­dent of the Philip­pines. 3) Kim Camp­bell of Canada.

De­spite the ob­sta­cles to gen­der equal­ity in the Caribbean, women did rise to lead­er­ship, no­tably: 1) Janet Ja­gan, Pres­i­dent of Guyana from De­cem­ber 1997 through to Au­gust 1999. 2) Pres­i­dent Pamela Gor­don, Ber­muda First Fe­male Pre­mier. 3) Dame Jen­nifer M. Smith, Ber­muda Sec­ond Fe­male Pre­mier. 4) Paula Cox, Ber­muda Third Fe­male Pre­mier and Leader of the Pro­gres­sive Labour Party. 5) Por­tia Simp­son-Miller, Ja­maica First Fe­male and cur­rent Prime Min­is­ter and Pres­i­dent of the Peo­ples Na­tional Party. 6) Kamla Per­sad-Bisses­sar, Trinidad and Tobago First Fe­male and cur­rent Prime Min­is­ter, Leader of the United Na­tional Congress. 7) Dame Louise Lake-Tack, An­tigua and Bar­buda First Fe­male Gover­nor. 8) Dr. Jac­qui Quinn-Le­an­dro, An­tigua and Bar­buda Pres­i­dent of the In­ter-Amer­i­can Com­mis­sion of Women (CIM), 2006-2008. 9) Mia Mot­t­ley, QC Bar­ba­dos For­mer Leader of the Bar­ba­dos Labour Party, the First Fe­male Leader of the Op­po­si­tion and now a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment 10) Dame Eu­ge­nia Charles was elected to serve three terms from1980-1995 as first fe­male Prime Min­is­ter of the Com­mon­wealth of Do­minica. 11) Ertha Pas­cal-Trouillot, Pres­i­dent of Haiti from March 1990 to Fe­bru­ary 1991.

From our very own home land, Saint Lu­cia, we salute: 1) Hon. Heral­dine Rock, first fe­male min­is­ter to be elected in the Par­lia­ment of Saint Lu­cia. 2) Her Ex­cel­lency Men­nisa Ram­bally, cur­rently serv­ing as Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Saint Lu­cia to the United Na­tions, and the youngest woman to en­ter pol­i­tics in Saint Lu­cia at age 21. 3) Ms. Sarah Flood-Beaubrun who be­came the Min­is­ter of Health in the St Lu­cia Labour Party Gov­ern­ment in 1997. 4) Her Ex­cel­lency Dame Pear­lette Louisy, Saint Lu­cia’s first fe­male Gover­nor Gen­eral. 5) Hon. Alv­ina Reynolds, Min­is­ter of Health 6) Hon. Emma Hip­polyte, Direc­tor of Au­dit; Direc­tor of Na­tional In­sur­ance Cor­po­ra­tion and now Min­is­ter of Trade, In­dus­try and Com­merce 7) Hon Dr. GaleRigob­ert, Par­lia­men­tary Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Mi­coud North and Leader of the Op­po­si­tion. 8) De­ceased Jus­tice Judge Suzie d’Au­vergne was a Legal Lu­mi­nary and a leg­end in her time.

Saint Lu­cia has come a long way! The Women of In­dus­try, Sol­i­dar­ity and Em­pow­er­ment (WISE) salute our Women of Saint Lu­cia, the Caribbean and the world. We have demon­strated that we are on the right road to mak­ing it hap­pen!

This ar­ti­cle would not be com­plete if we did not men­tion all the moth­ers, grand­moth­ers, daugh­ters, sis­ters, aunts and teach­ers; to them we of­fer pro­found grat­i­tude.

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