International Women’s Day promotes gender equality

Keynote speaker LaShonda Coleman address attendees at the International Women's Day brunch
Keynote speaker LaShonda Coleman address attendees at the International Women's Day brunch. - Photo: Andrel Harris.

On Sunday, Cayman joined the rest of the world in celebrating International Women’s Day, with more than 150 women marking the occasion at a special brunch.

This year’s theme was ‘I am Generational Equality: Realising Women’s Rights”. On social media platforms, the hashtag ‘eachforequal’ was used to spread information, in Cayman and globally.

“It’s our 21st anniversary of celebrating this very important day,” said Charmaine Miller, Family Resource Centre programme coordinator. “Through the partnership of several companies in the private and public sector we have been able to host this brunch, which is really an opportunity to raise funds for some of our vulnerable families.”

Miller says 80% of the families the Family Resource Centre caters to are single mothers in need of financial support “in order to raise healthy and functional children”.

The event, held at the Kimpton Seafire hotel, provided attendees with a chance to reflect on the challenges and success of women living in Cayman.

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“I think among the issues women are facing is definitely representation of women in important positions whether that be in our parliament, or in the business sectors,” said Miller. “Gender diversity is a good thing for our economy, it is a good thing for our country, and so we shouldn’t feel threatened by that, but instead welcome it and celebrate our achievements as women.”

Overall, Cayman has seen an increase in acknowledging the importance of women throughout various communities, Miller said.

“On an annual basis, we are seeing growth when it comes to raising awareness, just within the public sector, about celebrating International Women’s Day,” she said. “I think, as a country, we are definitely moving forward and propelling the agenda of gender equality.”

On the theme for the day, Miller said, “It’s a collective call for action, in saying that each one of us have an important role to play when it comes to gender equality and achieving that. For me, as an individual in my field, calling out gender stereotypes or just actions that put us women at a disadvantage or biases or stereotypes, that’s my responsibility. … So, just as a country, as women, this thing really speaks to ensuring that we all have a collective role in promoting gender equality.”

This year’s keynote speaker, La Shonda Coleman, of Pepperdine University’s Sexual Violence Elmination team, spoke about the importance of empowering women to be able to help each other.

“We need to be able to empower our women so that they can go out and empower other women,” Coleman said.

The brunch also featured a performance by dance group Dreamchasers Cayman, a live painting by Kay Smith, and a song by Daniela Shibli. A silent auction was also held during the event. Miller said the FRC hoped to raise between $10,000 and $15,000, with proceeds going towards assisting the centre’s clients.

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