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PM meets with women activists today

Friday, March 9, 2018

Despite often being criticised for being disrespectful to women, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says he will be sitting down with several women activists today for “frank discussions” on improving the plight of women.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Rowley said the breakfast meeting will take place today at the Diplomatic Centre and will be geared to improving the quality of life for women in T&T.

“Today, Trinidad and Tobago joins the global community in celebrating International Women’s Day 2018. Not only do we join together to uplift the women of our nation, we also reflect on the ways in which we can improve their collective experience and create a better society for us all,” Rowley said in a statement yesterday.

Reflecting the 2018 theme that “Time is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives,” Rowley said there have been gender-based progress in T&T.

“Right here at home we are witnessing a paradigm shift in which the advancement of women’s rights is no longer the interest of a few women’s groups only, it is at the forefront of several national narratives at many levels. For example, in our homes, our schools, our streets and even workplaces, issues of gender based discrimination and violence are frequently discussed and condemned,” Rowley said.

The Prime Minister said even though significant strides have been made, a great deal of work still has to be done.

“While many of us have said that better has to be done, there are those among us who have gone beyond words, they have taken up the mantle to do better and encourage others to follow in their path,” Rowley said.

He added that in honour of many strides made toward gender parity in T&T, he was hosting a number of women’s groups at the Diplomatic Centre.

“Over breakfast, we will engage in frank discussions of gender issues of particular concern to them, as representatives of women across the nation. The participation of each citizen is required if we are to bring about positive change for women and girls in our country. It is my sincere hope that the various conversations being conducted this week will mature into actions that resonate throughout all levels of society,” Rowley said.

Associate Editor, Caribbean Review of Gender Studies and lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Dr Gabriella Hosein said a representative from her organisation will be attending the meeting. Also expected to attend are head of the Women’s Institute for Alternative Development (WINAD) Folade Mutota.

Last October, Rowley came under fire from women activists after he said, “A golf course is like a woman, so you have to groom her every day otherwise it turns into a pasture.”

He was also criticised for his use of the word “jammetry” in describing the actions of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar in the Petrotrin “fake oil” scandal.

In February, he was chastised for telling women involved in domestic violence relationships to choose their partners better, saying, “I’m not in your bedroom.”

In the build-up to the 2015 general election, Rowley also came under fire for a “dog and cyat” statement he made, which was also viewed as a sexist attack on women and Persad-Bissessar.


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