Speaking on the observance of International Women’s Day (8th March), Minister with responsibility for Gender Affairs, Marcella Liburd, explained that during the period of industrialisation, in the early 1900s, “Women began to lobby for their right to work, vote, have access to training, hold public office, and for an end to discrimination against women.
“This ongoing commitment gave women a voice in the international arena, a voice that has become gradually louder over the years and is beginning to be heard in every part of the world and in every sphere of life.”
She said women and the strides they made are worthy of commendation and commenting specifically to the area of education, Minister Liburd noted that with regard to this year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Equal Access to Education, Training, Science and Technology; Pathway to Decent Work for Women”, ”St. Kitts and Nevis has much to be proud of as the doors of equal access to education has been open since 1967 with the introduction of comprehensive secondary education. Every girl in St. Kits and Nevis has equal access to pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary education.”
Directly resultant of the of the level playing field of education which was created in St. Kitts Nevis, Minister Liburd pointed out, women more positions which were traditionally filled by men, were being filled by women.
“Take a look at the public sector for example: our Financial Secretary, Comptroller of Inland Revenue, Director of Public Prosecution, Senior Magistrate, Head of Social Security, Post Master General, Aide-de-camp to the Prime Minister and Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of Sustainable Development, National Security and Foreign Affairs, Legal Department, Human Resources, Agriculture, Tourism, Social Services, Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, are all women. Some of them are the first women to be holding these positions,” Liburd said.
She added, “…I would like to acknowledge some women who were firsts in their various fields. Mrs. Lilith Kelsick, the first female Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Ann Liburd, the first president of the Caribbean Women’s Association, Ms Constance Mitchum, the first elected female parliamentarian, Mrs. Leonie James, the first female president of the St. Kitts Christian Council and Her Excellency Ms Rosalyn Hazelle, the first female appointed ambassador.”
The Minister emphasized that while “progress is being made (and) there are some bright sparks…there is much work still to be done in the area of social, economic and political advancement of women.”