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After 200 years of fighting for equality, things have not truly improved. So said Keisha Cruickshank, president of the Association of Female Executives of T&T and director of administration at the Network of NGOs for the Advancement of Women. In a phone interview yesterday, Cruickshank said the purpose of the remembrance of International Women's Day, being celebrated today, is attempting to achieve change and inspire women against violence and other issues.
The United Nation’s theme for International Women's Day this year is “Equity for women is progress for all.” The Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development has added, “Empowering rural women in business development.” Cruickshank said women make up 51 per cent of the world’s population and are responsible for 66 per cent of the world’s output yet they only receive ten per cent of the world’s income.
“Equality, freedom, solidarity, justice, and peace are its driving force. We have the power to create this world. We represent over half of humanity. We give life, we work, love, create, struggle, and have fun. We currently accomplish most of the work essential to life and the continued survival of humankind. Yet our place in society continues to be undervalued.” Cruickshank said women are still not regarded as equals to their male counterparts.
“Women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, while the violence against women and girls continues to rise. “The international theme is inspiring different agencies who are using it and focusing on different things. Equality means business, it means that gender equality means business. Women are a productive part of the society and often have the burden of care for children and elderly and these factors affect them with their productivity in the workplace,” she said.
Cruickshank said there are gender-gap issues in enterprise as men are paid more than women for the same job. “The whole focus of this observance is really to draw awareness to the fact that even in the business community you have to pay attention to gender equality if you want to be successful in business,” she said. Data still show men get paid more for the same job than women, that they are moving up in leadership but many positions are still held by men, she said.
“T&T is making advances in Parliament and the state boards but there are still more men than women.” Cruickshank said there are issues concerning the violence perpetrated on women more than men. The Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development said today is the official launch of a month of activities to promote business and smart partnership. A series of business clinics will be launched today at Tableland High School, Moruga. The minister, Clifton De Coteau, is scheduled to give the feature address.