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Mar 22, 2012

The Dawn of the Women’s Summit

The entire month of March is dedicated to the advancement of the women’s agenda. A summit this morning at the Radisson organized by the Women’s Department discussed how the information highway affects empowerment and development of women. The organizers feel that socialization begins at birth and that early exposure is the key to making informed choices. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Critical to the empowerment of women is the availability of information. Director of Women’s Department, Icilda Humes says that the transfer of that knowledge continues to remain key, and one of the primary reasons behind the annual women’s summit.

 

Icilda Humes

Icilda Humes, Director, Women’s Department

“We tend to celebrate our similarities as women, but we often forget that it is our differences that make us unique and diverse. Perhaps we need to take a step back and look around and say, ‘she is not me, she is she’. We mustn’t lose sight though, of the fact that sometimes we make decisions without the right information. For that reason, one of the objectives of the annual women’s summit is to provide women with knowledge so that they can make informed decisions.”

 

Judith Alpuche

And that is vital, because girls’ socialization starts from birth; which is central to their development as women, says C.E.O. Alpuche:

 

Judith Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Human Dev, Social Trans & Poverty Alleviation

“We think about all that our girls, or our children on a whole, but certainly our girls are bombarded with these days, with regards to the internet and all the information that is out there, the media, etc and how that impacts on their sense of self. How do we help our girls? That is a reality of the world that we live in. Although we can work on making the media more sensitive, that is laudable and work than needs to be done. But the reality is that from the girl is born, the clock starts ticking and we have about eighteen years, and so to my mind, a lot of the emphasis needs to be on inculcating values and building resiliency in our girls. In helping them to navigate all that is around them.”

 

And for that reason, this year’s theme, ‘’ resonates well within a local context:

 

Icilda Humes

“We were elated when the international theme was announced this year, because the theme in itself is a call to action and a less than subtle reminder that we are not engaging our girls in our advocacy, in our activism, or in our discussions. I am sure most of you have heard me say this before, and I will say it again, and keep saying it because anything that promotes positive change and that will move our country forward, is worth repeating a hundred times. So, our young people are not the leaders of tomorrow, they are the leaders of today. Saying otherwise, their values, their contributions, sends a message that age trumps commonsense; it trumps creativity and innovation and it trumps visionary and transformational leadership.”

 

But for there to be more inclusion, there must be a balance within an open discourse setting:

 

Judith Alpuche

“The whole issue of children’s participation, young person’s participation and opening up the space for girls is very key, to my mind. And really, ensuring and understanding that in their own right, they come with their experiences and ideas, we need to value them because they do have something to say. And they are the experts on their situations.”

 

Icilda Humes

“As the adults we tend to believe that our values are more important than theirs. How many times, have you heard people saying, ‘Oh this generation is nothing like ours,’ but you know what, every generation says that. I certainly have head my parents say that and I have said it to my sons. But what exactly are we saying when we say this, is it that generation after generation should think, act and look the same? Well if that were the case, then this world would be kinda boring, and we would not have grown as a people. So where exactly do we draw the lines on the values we want to instill in our girls and imposing our values on them?”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

Another activity to look out for takes place at the end of the month at the Bliss parking lot where Maya Women’s Expo will be held. 

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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