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Oct 17, 2014

Women In Politics, An Initiative by WIN-Belize

Even though there have been small steps, the odds are against women who want to become involved in the front lines of politics. One organization that wants to reverse these statistics is WIN-Belize. Earlier today, about seventy aspiring female politicians were honored after completing training on how to position themselves to be successful in politics. The program covered a wide range of relevant topics on the political system. Duane Moody reports from Old Belize.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The Women Issues Network in Belize, better known as WIN-Belize, today held a graduation ceremony at the Old Belize Pavilion. A total of seventy-one aspiring women politicians from across the country gathered to receive certificates after completing weeks of training. The group of women is essentially aspiring for political office at the village and town council levels. Executive Director of WIN-Belize, Carolyn Reynolds, explains how the training prepares the women to be leaders.

 

Carolyn Reynolds

Carolyn Reynolds, Executive Director, WIN-Belize

“Each of these women had to complete at least forty-nine hours of training sessions and they did. I also need to mention that some trainees who completed the program are not able to be here due to illness, work schedules and being out of the country. The purpose of this training program is to strengthen women’s political participation in leadership capacities including those from rural and indigenous backgrounds to prepare for and to contest local and national elections. The areas covered were the concept of gender, how the political system works, advancing within the political parties, strategic positioning, campaign financing, dealing with political rallies and dealing with the media.”

 

Three groups were set up to accommodate the many women from the north and the south, Belize City and Belmopan who took part in the training sessions. The women include teachers, community leaders, village and town councilors, as well as public officers, employees of private institutions and students. Graduates also spoke about the experience and how it has prepared them for the political field.

 

Shanine Campbell

Shanine Campbell, Graduate

“I am grateful to be amongst present politicians, consulates, village women, aspiring politicians and political advisors…all in all future women leaders for a country that is desperately in need of the warmth of a woman’s heart.”

 

Jacklyn Burns, Graduate

Jacklyn Burns

“Today I am honored to speak on behalf of the women in cohort two, women in leadership. I shared eight memorable weeks with women built of palladium that unbreakable glass that stands attacks and responds with upstart resilience. Training with these intelligent, hardworking, innovative and creative sisters have been nothing short of profound. To summarize, I highlight the three most important lessons that training to be leaders has planted in me. As women, we are individually responsible to lend support to each other regardless of political affiliation or any other dividing factor. We must become each other’s ladders, safety nets and pulleys. It is only after we have climbed this proverbial mountain that we will truly see the magnitude of Belizean women leaders.”

 

Nayomi Lara

Nayomi Lara, Graduate

“We believe in change for women, family, community and Belize. my walk through this course made me realize the need for more women to meaningfully participate in Belizean politics where change could be effected to improve our families, community, our country.”

 

Also giving remarks at the ceremony today was UNDP Officer in Charge of Democratic Governance, Elishah St. Luce. She says that cultural and traditional norms are but few of the challenges facing women wanting to be in politics.

 

Elishah St. Luce

Elishah St. Luce, UNDP Officer in Charge, Democratic Governance Portfolio

“The commitment embedded in the MDG-three, is that by 2015, Belize would have made consistent and continuous improvements in the relative capacity of women to access opportunities to serve as representatives. In order for this to happen, some of the root causes of women’s absence from political leadership roles need to be addressed. It is evident that women at the national level are not only less likely to be voted into office, but are also less likely to enter into public life. And in interviews with women suggest that cultural norms and traditional perception of the roles of women predominate and as such women continue to work behind the scenes.”

 

The training was held under the theme, “Strengthening Women’s Representation in National Leadership in Belize.” Duane Moody for News Five.

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