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Feb 5, 2018

P.U.P.’s women demand equal representation in Belmopan

While women have been making greater appearances on the political ballot, Belize still has some way to go toward true gender equality. The Opposition People’s United Party has made greater strides than most, producing the country’s first woman parliamentarian, first female speaker, first female Cabinet Minister and a host of others. But this past weekend, the United Women’s Group, the P.U.P.’s women’s arm, participated in a forum of self-reflection on what more needs to be done to advance women’s agenda forward within the party and Belize. Aaron Humes has this report.


Aaron Humes, Reporting

The women of the People’s United Party, and their sisters across Belize, feel they deserve a little more respect. After all, what is any man without a woman beside him? The future leadership of the P.U.P.’s distaff side met in Belmopan at the Civic Center to assess where they are and where they want to go.


Dr. Candice Pitts, P.U.P. Councilor Candidate, Belize City

Dr. Candice Pitts

“Let us look at our own political slates: how many female mayoral candidates do we have? Do we have any legitimate reason as to why this is so? We don’t want to continue to perpetuate the very problems we want to address and redress – otherwise what is the point of a forum such as this? Elsewhere, (inaudible) cited the venomous nature of a system that is male-dominated; that we find all forms of violence against women – physical, epistemic and systematic. We know what physical is – it is the infliction of pain or harm to the material body of women. Systematic are what we set in place to ensure the status quo where men’s [inaudible] and women are subjugated remains. Epistemic is how we choose to see women; the [inauduible] even at the level of their thoughts. What [inaudible] referenced is systematic and epistemic values, where women are not beaten down in the homes; they are beaten down in the societies – in their jobs, their places of worship, their classrooms.”


Pitts had some suggestions for integrating women into the socio-political landscape.

Dr. Candice Pitts

“Perhaps we can begin by amending our flag and anthem. We need to change society’s prejudicial image of our girls and women. We need to continue to invest in the education of girls and women. We need to make women more socially and politically involved. [Pause] Belize also needs its own plan for affirmative action. We committed the party to a thirty-percent threshold, which means that at least thirty percent representation of our women are in political leadership, and I think that this year we have gotten closer to that number than in previous years. However, we want it to be more than just a policy; we want it to be a fully realized, empirical policy where Belize will experience the full participation of its womenfolk.”


And while P.U.P. leader John Briceño has no leadership worries at this time, he made sure as a guest to pay tribute to the women of the party who will no doubt be critical in future election victories.


John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

John Briceno

“This is truly a celebration; it’s more than a celebration. It is the party recognizing the contributions of our women in every aspect of our lives: being at home, on the job, in our communities, as mothers to our children, as wives, sisters, daughters, teachers, workers, citizens, and yes, our leaders. Like all the other discussions, I am sure that the decisions that will emanate from today’s session will focus on the future of our country, our party, our families and our children. I am sure that you, the women of the P.U.P., will share their problems and solutions to the issues which confront us. We are grateful that the U.W.G. has brought together our women from all corners of the nation to address your aspirations and your concerns.”


Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

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