Island celebrates International Women’s Day
City Hall was alive with the spirit of female equality and empowerment during the celebration of International Women’s Day today.
Female leaders from the worlds of business, politics, law, diplomacy and charity gathered to champion the achievements and acknowledge the struggles of women the world over.
Cathy Duffy, the first female country manager at AIG, outlined some of the qualities that helped her to shatter the glass ceiling as a black woman.
She said: “How is it that in 2019, it is still rare for a double minority like me to be in a leadership position?
“According to global data, out of every 100 executives only 25 are women. Out of the same 100, regardless of gender, five are black.
“So how did a little black girl from Cedar Hill and White Hill get here?
“With a lot of faith, determination, continuous learning, patience, gratitude and most certainly not by myself. I have a tribe of diverse people here today. By being with a diverse group of people I learnt how to be open to diversity of thought, to be willing not to limit myself to a particular sector of people.
“The only way our economy and community will thrive is through gender balance and diversity.”
International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women while making a call to action for accelerating gender balance.
This year’s theme came with the hashtag #BetterforBalance and schoolchildren held up banners with messages including “Diversity is our strength”, “Be fearless” and “It’s women’s day every day.”
Dignitaries included David Burt, the Premier and Craig Cannonier, the Leader of the Opposition.
Alison Crocket, the Deputy Governor, said there is still a long way to go on gender equality.
She highlighted the Global Gender Gap Index which benchmarks 144 countries on their progress towards gender equality in the areas of economic participation, educational attainment and opportunity, health and survival and political empowerments.
Ms Crocket said: “It concludes that the overall gender gap can be closed in 100 years. The economic and health spheres are particularly lagging.
“If we believe that balance is better, business as usual will not do. We need to challenge, at every level, the assumptions and stereotypes that have kept woman in low or no pay roles.”
Elaine Butterfield, executive director of the Women’s Resource Centre, said that women make up 52 per cent of Bermuda’s population and represent a significant portion of economic spending in our economy.
She said: “This is a clear reason to embrace balance and incorporate women’s needs and values in every area of decision-making.”
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