Statement by His Excellency Governor Augustus J.U. Jaspert
on International Women’s Day (8 March)
11 March, 2020
Last Sunday was international Women’s Day. The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1908 when a group of 15,000 women marched on the streets of New York, demanding their rights. Since then, every year on 8th March the world comes together to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and to support and motivate women across all fields of life.
Whilst no country has complete gender equality, the world continues to see positive change. 131 countries have made legal reforms to support gender equality and address discrimination. Today, more than three-quarters of countries, including BVI, have laws against gender-based violence in place. And more girls are in school than ever before, with more women in tertiary education than men globally.
In BVI, inspiring women are found throughout society and are represented at senior levels in politics, the public service, the judiciary and the private sector. BVI’s two Junior Ministers are women, four of the six Permanent Secretaries are women, the Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean is a BVIslander and four of her follow Judges and Magistrates are women, and women are found at the very top of financial services firms and the marine industry that are so vital to BVI’s economy. International Women’s Day is an opportunity for celebrating women's achievements in BVI and for challenging gender stereotypes.
The staff at Gender Affairs work hard year round in support of women and equality in the Territory. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to highlight the excellent work they do to challenge gender stereotypes. Today, they are marking the occasion by engaging with the grade 8 students of the Elmore Stoutt High School to do just that. They will highlight to the students that although some professions are viewed as traditionally male dominated, there is an important role for women, too. Inspiring women from such professions: a fire officer, a farmer, architect, geographical information system personnel and a marine worker (boat captain) will present to the students and highlight that women can shine in any industry – a fantastic opportunity to educate and inspire children about the role of women in society.
The benefits of gender equality are not just for women and girls, but for everyone whose lives will be changed by a fairer world that leaves no one behind.