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International Women’s Day celebrated

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Hear us roar: Progressive Labour Party MPs Renée Ming, left, Tinée Furbert and health minister Kim Wilson were in attendance at City Hall yesterday to celebrate International Women’s Day (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A sea of supporters packed the grounds of City Hall to back the global celebration of International Women’s Day yesterday.

Many wore purple to symbolise justice and gender equality, while others waved placards displaying #PressForProgress.

About 300 people assembled, with Mayor of Hamilton Charles Gosling commending “not only the turnout, but the passion as well”.

Mr Gosling, who denounced the “statistical hallucinations that keep us apart”, added: “A world which continuously creates divisions among itself will not be sustainable,” .

David Burt, the Premier, told the crowd he had been joined by “my lovely wife, Kristin” along with the “dynamic women” from the Progressive Labour Party — Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, health minister Kim Wilson, government reform minister Lovitta Foggo, and MPs Tinée Furbert and Renée Ming.

Mr Burt added: “We stand in solidarity with the many women here today that continue the fight for progress in gender parity.”

Also in attendance were Jeanne Atherden, the Leader of the Opposition, Michael Dunkley, the former premier, One Bermuda Alliance senator Justin Mathias and former senator Lynne Woolridge, while OBA MP Jeff Baron introduced speakers.

The women’s drumming group Coral Beats took to the steps of City Hall and the day’s events were closed with a joint performance by artists Heather Nova and Joy Barnum.

Alison Hill, chief executive officer of the Argus Group, declared that “the time is now — the stars are aligned”.

“Never before have we experienced such global awareness,” Ms Hill said, adding that Bermuda, after three women premiers, “can lead the way”.

Cordelia Davis, a partner at EY Bermuda, said that gender parity was “really about what we can all do to achieve our full potential and become anything we aspire to”, while poet Tiffany Paynter read Audrey Lorde’s 1977 essay on the transformation of silence into language and action.

Elaine Butterfield, the executive director of the Women’s Resource Centre, said she felt “emotional” as she looked out at the crowds gathered.

“It appears that the world is awakening to women’s empowerment, and so are all of us,” she said.

Saltus head girl Toriah Smith, 17, recounted the challenges faced by older female relatives who confronted gender prejudice.

“I can stand before you today and say that I have not had to deal with such discrimination,” Ms Smith said, eliciting cheers when she noted that, as of August, she would be able to vote.

“I believe that we can be fearless girls and women, and make an impact on today’s world,” she added.

Drumming up support: Coral Beats entertain the crowd (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Political presence: David Burt, the Premier and his wife, Kristin, show their support, with Attorney-General Kathy Lynn Simmons near by (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Inspiring the younger generation: people of all ages turn out to support International Women’s Day at City Hall (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Business backing: David Brown, senior partner at EY Bermuda, right, and staff at the company take in the sights and sounds at an event the firm sponsored (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Bringing banners: plenty of placards on show (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Women’s Day kicks off with a bang: female drum group Coral Beats support International Women’s Day (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Large crowds of women of all ages show up in support of International Women’s Day at the City Hall (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)