Letters to the Editor: International Women’s Day address

gives me great pleasure as the Minister responsible for Gender Affairs, to
deliver this International Women’s Day address on behalf of the Cayman Islands

kick starts Honouring Women Month and a series of local activities during March
under the theme: Women Making History! This presents us with a wonderful opportunity
to highlight and celebrate those who over the years, have distinguished
themselves with courage, creativity, persistence and vision. 

Caymanian women have been known for having the backbone and tenacity to juggle
multiple responsibilities while the men were away at sea.  Nonetheless, the historic contributions of
those women often seem to have been recorded using invisible ink since history
books mostly fail to capture the depth of their work.

Myra Pollack Sadker, pioneer of much of the research that
documents gender bias in America’s schools once said, “Each time a girl opens a book
and reads a womanless history, she learns she is worthless.” 

will not accept this in Cayman; as we work to ensure that women’s marks are
recorded and recognised, this year the Family Resource Centre has created a
banner depicting the names of women who had roles in building our society.

are women who worked in our community, in government, science, art, sports,
medicine and in business. And still more remain unsung – young or elderly,
Caymanian-born or Caymanian-at-heart, they are recognised today because every
one of them in some way contributed to our history and community.

yet today we must remain mindful that there is still more to be done. This
year’s global theme for International Women’s Day, Equal
Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All
underscores the fact that the
journey continues. 

across the world, women are still not paid equally with their male
counterparts; they still lack parity in politics and the level of women’s
education, health care received and the violence they endure combine to ensure
that they are not treated as favourably as men. 

is against this background that we continue to work towards legislative
measures that address gender inequality. Such measures include the Prevention
of Gender Discrimination Bill 2010, which will address issues such as equal pay
for equal work, sexual harassment, and discrimination by certain bodies or

Ministry is now working with the Legislative Drafting Department on redrafting this
bill and it will take into account comments and suggestions received during the
public consultation period that ended 31 January this year.

this Bill becomes a law, a request will be made to the United Kingdom to extend
to the Cayman Islands the Convention on the Elimination of all
Forms of Discrimination against Women
, an international human rights treaty that
is exclusively devoted to gender equality.

 With the
principle of equality between men and women being a CEDAW cornerstone, the
ratification of this treaty will be yet another gain for women’s and girls’
rights on a practical, everyday level.

 It is my fervent hope that we will continue to
build on the legacy of the women who have gone before us.  To do this, let us take a collective stand
and work tirelessly to dismantle entrenched patterns of discrimination,
political exclusion, economic disparity, injustice, and violence against women.
Once we achieve success in these areas, then we will recognise that we have
finally cast aside the barriers that have for too long hindered the achievement
of gender equality.