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British High Commissioner says: T&T a good place for women
British High Commissioner Arthur Snell says Trinidad and Tobago was ranked third as the best place in the Commonwealth to be born female. However, he said there is room for improvement on how women are treated in T&T, since there still exist troubling issues like violence against women. Snell was the feature speaker at a function held by Soroptimist International, San Fernando, on Wednesday at Horace’s Restaurant, as part of its 50th-anniversary celebrations. Speaking on the topic Women’s Role in T&T and Developing Countries, Snell recalled that three women, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Queen Elizabeth were the three key players at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2011.
Snell said in a study undertaken by the Royal Commonwealth Society on the best place to be born female, T&T ranked third. Noting that women in T&T held senior positions in various areas, especially in the public sector, he said: “There is no debate about the progress which is being made in this country for women...But that does not mean it’s the end of the story.” Education, he said, was also not an issue in T&T, as women were outperforming men, but there were still troubling issues such as domestic violence, which has increased over the past ten years, and a high incidence of rape. He said one burning issue was the area of health, since every year more than half a million women across the world die in pregnancy or childbirth. He said T&T ranked 106th in the infant mortality rate across the world, but Grenada and St Lucia, which do not enjoy the significant resources this country does, ranked 76th and 66th respectively.
He said T&T ranked 72nd in world infant mortality, with pregnant women here twice as likely to die as in Chile and five times more likely to die than in Albania. Snell said while significant improvement has been made within the last 20 years, there is still room for improvement. He questioned whether T&T’s culture shows an even hand towards women and their contribution. While the country has great successes for women in education and economic participation, he said: “I guess there is no room for complacency.” He applauded Soroptimist International for its continued work to empower women, and commended the San Fernando club for its efforts to construct a new Shangri La home for the elderly.
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