SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Today, March 8th is celebrated as International Women’s Day, and I want to take this opportunity to wish all women, but in particularly our daughters of the soil, A Happy International Women’s Day. The very first women’s day was celebrated in 1975, and by 1977 the UN had adopted the 8th of March as an official day to celebrate women and promote women’s right. This International Women’s Day is themed “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights” by the United Nations. All over the world, women are fighting for equality, but this is a fight we should all participate in, both women and men. This is because our daughters, mothers and sisters are all impacted. This is the core message of the #EachforEqual campaign that also centers this year’s International Women’s Day.
St. Maarten, we are making leaps as we see the number of women grow in parliament, in our government, in our courtrooms, in entrepreneurship, in construction and in many senior positions in the public and private sectors. I, myself, have defied statistics as I serve as Prime Minister of this great tiny nation along with a number of strong women before me. However, there is more work to be done. Women play a significant role in our communities, in our homes and even in our economy. They are our leaders, preachers, teachers and so much more.
This day brings awareness to a number of issues that we face as women, and reminds us of the strength we have in numbers and moreover the strength we have as women. It is also the opportunity to reflect and connect with women around the world. In our reflection, let us remember that St. Maarten had been once known as Oualichi, meaning the land of strong women. A heritage that I am extremely proud of, and one that every St. Maartener should be proud of. We exhibit that strength.
This International Women Day, I want to inspire and encourage women everywhere to uplift each other and help each other because remarkable things happen when women help one another women. Let’s make every day International Women’s day. As our fight continues, let us remember the famous quote of Ntozake Shange, “Where there is a woman, there is magic!”