The theme chosen to mark the occasion was, ‘Women as Agents of Change’.
While speaking on the significance of the day and the theme chosen, one of St. Kitts’ Youth Ambassadors, Ms. Isalean F. C. Phillip used the opportunity to advise young women in the Federation to let their education be their biggest investment and sharpest tool.
The Youth Ambassador said that “There is nothing more attractive or powerful than an intelligent woman. Do not waste your education trying to grasp the attention of the young man across the room. Do not allow yourself to become another statistic by falling prey to the trend of teenage pregnancy and school drop outs. Make conscious decisions to always be responsible; making informed choices about your health and relationships. Take full advantage of the educational opportunities provided because only then will you earn the right to have great expectations about life and the chances to achieve them.”
It is Ms. Phillip’s view that “Before we can become agents of change and dream to transform the world, as young women growing up in an ever evolving society filled with increasing crime and violence, higher costs of living and day to day pressures faced at home, school and in communities, we must learn how to, despite social challenges, grow into the strong women needed to raise and sustain our nation.”
“Remember that the ability to effect change comes from an internal will to make things happen and by growing up to become an exemplary woman, a young woman confident, educated, with a strong sense of self worth, respected by others, and packed with potential, you gain the will power to transform the world,” said Phillip.
According to a Commonwealth Secretariat release, a series of special events have been organized within the 54 nation grouping, including the dissemination of news, competitions and the sharing of resource material, including posters and logos.
The day is used to celebrate women whose work has made a positive difference to the lives of others, and emphasizes the Commonwealth message that by investing in women and girls we can accelerate social, economic and political progress in our member states.
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and the Commonwealth’s first woman Chairperson-in-Office, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, said: “From birth, to their first day in school, having a successful career – and everything in between – women and girls must be given the chance to succeed and become the agents of change we need.
Meanwhile the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, was in agreement with Ms. Persad Bissessar. “Women and girls hold the key to sustained development and improving the lives of others. To change a woman’s life for the better is to unlock the potential to change and lift a whole society,” he said.
Mr. Sharma continued: “The Commonwealth understands the crucial role that women play in their families, communities and in society at large. For nearly 40 years the Commonwealth has organized programs looking at women’s access to health, education, enterprise, leadership, and the impact of conflict on them.
“In the same year that International Women’s Day celebrates its centenary, the Commonwealth celebrates and highlights those women who are making a difference to the lives of others, as well as highlight the areas that are preventing women and girls from reaching their goals and fulfilling their potential. Together the people, societies and organizations of the Commonwealth can change the fortunes of women for the benefit of all. It is a right, not a gift.”
The week of activities will run from 14th-20th March.