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JIS News

Jamaica joins with the rest of the world in observing International Women’s Day. We have the good fortune of doing so at a time of great historical importance in our country. As we prepare for the ascendancy of the first woman to head the government and lead a major political party, we are reminded of the old Chinese Proverb, “Women hold up half of the sky”.
Our women have always played a critical role in important institutions in this country. The policies of successive governments have sought to advance the position of women and to ensure that they have equal access to the opportunities that are available in the society. A most fundamental aspect of public policy that seeks to level the playing field is access to education at all levels. Studies have shown that educated women are more empowered to make informed decisions and that these decisions impact positively on the family, community and wider society.
It is an irrefutable fact that more women are involved in community organizations playing an indispensable role in building strong, vibrant and safe communities. It is also true that more women than men comprise the technopols and therefore occupy an influential space in technocratic policy making in Jamaica.
Even as we celebrate the journey that our women have trod and their successes in breaking down stereotypical barriers that have held them back for centuries we must not lose sight of the need to continue to formulate and implement policies and programmes that will address violence, including domestic violence, against women and find more effective ways of helping them to protect themselves and their families from the scourge of HIV/AIDS.
Government and non-state actors should collaborate more in providing services that will support women, protect their rights and empower them to be self reliant.
Probably the most significant progress that we can make as a country is to move away from our attitude to women and the different negative ways that we have displayed such attitude in our daily interaction with them.
I salute Jamaican women everywhere for the long and most times lonely struggle that they have endured to hold up the Jamaican sky.