PHILIPSBURG–“Women, let’s make it our business to strengthen our society one woman, one man and one child at a time.” This was the rallying call of Education and Culture Minister Silveria Jacobs in her International Women’s Day (IWD) message.
Jacobs said in the Council of Ministers Press Briefing on Wednesday that as the world marks IWD “let us pledge to honour women for the role they play in society every day and strive to raise a nation of strong men and women passionate about the progress of this country we call Oualichi, St. Maarten and her precious people.”
Being the only woman in the Council of Ministers, Jacobs said she was “deeply honoured to be a woman, one of Oualichi descent, proud to be your voice and represent you – to bring the woman’s perspective to the floor.”
She commended all women who contribute to the lives of everyone they come in contact with on a daily basis – mothers, caretakers, teachers, providers and nurturers.
St. Maarten once called Oualichi-Land of Strong Women is indeed home to strong women, she said. “I must honour all women of influence, women in leadership in our homes, schools, churches, in the community and in Government for the role they play in raising and shaping our tiny island nation.”
On IWD, Jacobs said, “We as women must assess where we were, what it took to arrive here, where we are today and where we want to be 50 years from now. Are we the shop owners, leaders in our communities and partners in our relationships that we want to be? Are we nurturing our children, teaching respect, self-control, compassion, love and equity?”
“As women we refuse to be judged by our looks but by our character and the quality of our work. As women we denounce the blatant objectification of women which diminishes our value. As women we must strive to empower our young girls to strive to be more than a pretty face or a perfect body,” she said, adding: “As women we demand and deserve equal pay for equal work and equal opportunities for education and work.”
The Minister saluted women in the community who have empowered her and have been role models as well starting with her mother Nadia, the first teacher to inspire her Mavis Brooks-Salmon, Sarah Wescot-Williams, Nilda Arduin, Clara Reyes, Dorothy Richardson, close friend; Carmen Berkel, and young people in the community; Aiyaunty Rombley, Rochana Richardson, LaRich, Tyra Els, McKeda Shillingford, Tatia Brunings, Murielle Jean-Michel, Nicole de Weever, Melanie Choisy and others.