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  • On this International Women’s Day, being observed under the theme “Equality for women is progress for all: Inspiring Change”, I salute the resilience of our women and the role they play in the development agenda and the socio-cultural aspirations of the Jamaican people.
  • Jamaica has had a long and distinguished involvement with the global movement for improving the status of women and can take pride in its leadership and meaningful participation in the associated initiatives at the level of the United Nations and regional bodies, including CARICOM.
  • Advancing women’s equality and empowerment lies at the heart of the policies and legislative programme of the Government as we build on the lessons learned and directly tackle the remaining vestiges of unequal power relations and gender stereotypes that impede sustainable development and discriminate against our women.

Since the turn of the 20th century, the 8th of March has been observed in the majority of democratic societies as the day to recall the struggles for the removal of systemic barriers against womanhood and for equality, human rights and justice for every woman and girl.

On this International Women’s Day, being observed under the theme “Equality for women is progress for all: Inspiring Change”, I salute the resilience of our women and the role they play in the development agenda and the socio-cultural aspirations of the Jamaican people.

Jamaica has had a long and distinguished involvement with the global movement for improving the status of women and can take pride in its leadership and meaningful participation in the associated initiatives at the level of the United Nations and regional bodies, including CARICOM. We have ratified all the major human rights conventions that focus on the status of women and girls; established strong national strategies, social interventions and enacted ground-breaking legislation to empower our women and allow them to develop their full potential.

These achievements notwithstanding, challenges still remain including acts of physical, sexual and emotional abuse; poverty that impacts the life chances of many families, and the frightening incidences of murder and other violent attacks on our women and girls.  While we can declare ‘we have come a long way’, we must also admit that we ‘have further to go’ in order to achieve true gender equality.

Advancing women’s equality and empowerment lies at the heart of the policies and legislative programme of the Government as we build on the lessons learned and directly tackle the remaining vestiges of unequal power relations and gender stereotypes that impede sustainable development and discriminate against our women. As the theme of this International Women’s Day so clearly emphasizes, it is when women are truly equal that the entire society will realize a sustainable path to social, economic, political and spiritual development.

I wish all our citizens love, peace and togetherness on this International Women’s Day, as we renew our commitment, advocacy and activism to inspire change and ensure that “equality for women is progress for all”.