Prime Minister talks gender equality in IWD message

PHILIPSBURG–“If, indeed, gender equality is a condition sine qua non to achieve good governance, shouldn’t we on St. Maarten, where good governance has become such a coveted political ideal, be bold and change our laws to guarantee equal representation for women in our public institutions,” said Prime Minister William Marlin in a message to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) today, Wednesday.

Building on this year’s theme – #BeBoldforChange, Marlin said: “Being pro-women is being a champion for social change, for equality, pure and simple, and for justice that is based on shared values and fairness. That is why women’s rights are, in my view, human rights.”

“We can beat our chests and proclaim to the whole wide world that St. Maarten women are strong; that St. Maarten women are well represented in all facets of our public and private lives. But, we cannot deny the fact that they are often at the receiving end of sexist remarks or that few of them have broken the glass ceiling of corporate board rooms,” he said.

He added: “Yes, we have had and still have women in several professional fields including health, education, banking and politics. True, our first Prime Minister and President of Parliament were women. But is that enough as a measure of gender equality?”

IWD is meant to celebrate the achievements of women, but it is also a day of introspection, Marlin said. “And if we do an honest soul-searching, we should be bold enough to evaluate how we raise our boys and girls.”

Legendary feminist author and activist, Gloria Steinem once noted: “We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”

Marlin said: “I believe that is the direction we should be going if we are serious about eliminating the gender gap. And we cannot hide behind our culture on this score.”

“The liberation of women is, therefore, a task for all of us who believe freedom knows no gender or sexual orientation, no color or race, no religion or class; no nationality or ethnicity. That is why we are all called to be bold for change, because women’s liberation is the express way we need to take to reach the full potential of our communities,” he said.

There, Marlin added, “I make bold to say that this is the kind of change that will transform our society and indeed, the world, because to put it bluntly, no community, nay, no nation can claim to be civilized unless its women are equal participants in its development. In fact, no nation can achieve any meaningful progress unless its women are on equal footing with its men.”

Source: The Daily Herald