by Donella Hosten
Grenada stands with the rest of the world on 8 March 2017, to observe International Women’s Day under the theme “Women in the Changing World of Work. Planet 50/50 by 2030.”
As in many other countries, Grenada seeks to continuously empower its women and girls through a number of sustainable events and forums.
Project Coordinator of the Grenada National Organisation of Women (GNOW), Ms Lorice Pascal, said this year they will once again be fulfilling one of GNOW’s mandates, which is to “empower women economically.”
Ms Pascal revealed that on 8 March, GNOW will be launching a 2-year project titled “Empowering Rural Women Through Horticulture for Sustainable Livelihood.” This project will see approximately 120 women between age 18 and 60 being trained in the planting and growing of exotic flowers.
According to Pascal, the project which is being funded by the Commonwealth Countries League of Women in the United Kingdom, stemmed from Grenada’s continuous winning streak at the Chelsea Flower Show held in the UK. She said they made the link to empower these women to be able to maintain a sustainable livelihood.
The women involved in the project will be selected through GNOW’s affiliates throughout the island, and is set up to assist with the alleviation of poverty among women. The Ministry of Agriculture is also lending their support to the project by providing technical support via their Agronomists, who according to Pascal, “will provide their expertise” in the areas of soil technology, planting and growing of the exotic flowers. The Ministry will also link this project to their own Zero Hunger Project.
Also contributing to the celebrations for Women’s Day was President of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Women’s Arm, Ms Jennifer Simon. According to Ms Simon, the NDC has consistently celebrated International Women’s Day. “we see it as a form of empowerment for women around the world.” This year the political party will be hosting a Women’s Rally at the Sauteurs Bus Terminal, which will be led and facilitated by women.
The Women’s President said they are seeking the inclusion of all women, especially those in the rural areas. She also believes that Grenada’s human resources needs to be developed and capitalized on and the NDC has committed to do this.
Notwithstanding the fact that there is a need for infrastructural development, Ms Simon said, “we want to hear and see and feel the development of our human resource.”
Ms Simon looked at the majority of families on the island which are mostly run by women, as she stressed on the important role women play in society. “We really do need change when it comes to the social living on island which affects mostly women.”
“In the current socioeconomic and political environment, Grenadian households find themselves having to combat joblessness, dysfunctional families, poorly developed social skills and habits, lack of institutional support and a profound sense of powerlessness – and really, you’re talking women here,” Ms Simon added. She said this serves to “undermine the confidence and self-esteem of our people,” and they will focus on putting the family and the community at the core of the development.
The New National Party (NNP) Women’s Arm also had their input in a Press Conference held on Tuesday, 7 March 2017, facilitated by two of the women in Parliament, Hon. Yolande Bain-Horsford and Senator Brenda Hood.
According to Hon. Bain-Horsford, interim Chair of the NNP’s Women’s Arm, they too “recognize and highlight the contributions our women make.” Additionally, “The NNP administration recognizes the capabilities of women, and as such, has extended time and much resources in their training and development.” The Minister went on to say that women are well represented in all levels in the Government and praised the efforts they have made.
In the upcoming months, the NNP, the Minister said, will be rolling out a number of events and workshops in an effort to empower the nation’s women and girls. They are also looking at the strict enforcement of the laws dealing with incest and domestic violence. The topical issue of Gender equality is also high on their priority list.
Senator Hood, who has been in the political arena for quite some time, said, “I believe that the women are involved in the party because they understand the policy and the goal of the party, and they want to make a different in the lives of people.”
On Sunday, 5 March 2017, the Ministry of Social Development held an Award Ceremony for women who have contributed tremendously to the development of their society.