Jamaica Must Promote the Cause of Women – Mckenzie


As numerous countries around the world observe International Women’s Day on March 8, President of the Association of Women’s Organizations in Jamaica (AWOJA), Hermione McKenzie, said it is very important for Jamaicans to be part of this global movement.
“It is really important for Jamaica to play its part in promoting the cause of women,” she told JIS News.
This is in light of the unfortunate fact that women are still not being paid salaries equivalent to that of their male counterparts; women are still not present in equal numbers in the business and political arena; and, globally, access to education, health and the violence against women, are worse than that of men.
Women therefore observe this special day to bring attention to these and other problems as well as to inspire others and celebrate their achievements. They have been doing so for more than 90 years.
Several organizations, which fall under the ambit of the AWOJA, will stage events to commemorate the special day. These organizations include Woman Inc.; Women’s Media Watch; Jamaica Woman’s Political Caucus; Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC); Soroptimist Club; Jamaica Household Workers Association; and the Caribbean Association of Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA).
However, Mrs. McKenzie pointed out that several of the activities will not occur on the actual day of observation. “One of the things that I have been doing is really trying to help organizations to schedule events so that they do not overlap with each other. We in fact have a range of activities from March 5 and going all the way to March 15,” she explained.
At least some 14 events have been scheduled from March 5 to March 28, as part of efforts by some of the member organizations, to keep women issues on the front burner during the month. These events, Mrs. McKenzie said, are focused mainly on the services offered by the various organizations.
In the meantime, the theme for this year’s observation is ‘Investing in Women and Girls’. Each country is expected to promote their interpretation of the theme as they see fit and Mrs. McKenzie said that Jamaica will be doing just that.
“I would say that the broad international theme in which Jamaica is participating is the idea of putting more resources in enabling girls and women to get ahead. One of the big areas in which we can invest in women and enable them to get ahead is employment,” she argued.
“Our women do well in education but we have higher rates of unemployment among women than men. A lot of women take on the responsibility of rearing family.our theme will focus on investing in improved employment for women,” the President continued.
One event to highlight this theme is being organized by CAFRA, which will be holding a workshop on ‘Accessing Credit and Resources for Empowerment of Women’ on March 28 at the PCJ Auditorium, Trafalgar Road, Kingston beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Women Inc. will also be hosting a series of Domestic Violence Intervention training workshops for police personnel and other community representatives from March 11 to 19. “Women Inc., which particularly offers resources to women and men, who have problems of domestic violence, is having some seminars, mainly for the service personnel.in fact they are having a series in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Kingston on how to intervene in domestic violence,” Mrs. McKenzie informed.
On March 5, the Women’s Media Watch held its International Day Workshop at the Mustard Seed Community.
International Women’s Day is an official holiday in several countries around the world. In some countries the special day has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day, where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers. Jamaica has been observing the day since the 1970s.

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