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Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 05, 2019 (SKNIS): International Women’s Day (IWD) 2019, which will be celebrated on March 08 under the theme, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” is an occasion where the Federation will join all other member states of the international community to “pause and assess, recognize and applaud the vast contribution that women have made, and continue to make in the development of our plant,” said Minister of State with responsibility for Gender Affairs, the Honourable Wendy Phipps, in her address to the nation on March 05 to commemorate the noteworthy day.

The Minister used her address to congratulate women for their invaluable, consistent and indispensable role in advancing the growth and development of the nation.

She noted that the slogan chosen, “Better the Balance, Better the World and #BalanceforBetter” is closely linked the United Nations’ (UN’s) ambitious broader mandate of “Planet 50-50 by 2030” to attain genuine equality between men and women in all spheres of local, regional and national development by the same deadline date for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Among other matters, such gender parity should be evident in terms of equal pay for equal work, corporate leadership opportunities, political and socio-economic participation and entrepreneurship,” she said, and added that the 2019 International Women’s Day theme goes a step further as it is “forcing all of us to take a long, hard, realistic look at the level of participation by women in areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), as well as the design sector.”

Minister Phipps said that more than 50% of the Federation’s households continue to be headed by single mothers, more than 50% of teachers are female, only 20% of the federal parliamentarians are female, and women make up more than 50% of the local labour force.

“The preceding data field shows that women continue to take on greater and greater roles in our families, communities, and our local economy. Women’s participation is evident in practically every career track, be it education, science, technology, agriculture, construction, finance, private sector leadership, arts and culture, healthcare and public sector supervision and management,” she said.

The minister mentioned that nine outstanding women will be recognized in St. Kitts for their meritorious service in various fields and stated that “while we salute all of our 2019 international Women’s Day awardees, we also pay homage to the countless number of women whose heroic contributions remain unheralded in terms of the socio-economic, cultural and political development our Federation.” -30-

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