FOUR TT women are to address the United Nations (UN) later this month on female empowerment.
The 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN in New York will be addressed on March 21 by the team of Dr Safeeya Mohammed, Tenille Clarke, Fallon Lutchmansingh, and Dr Marielle Barrow.
Yesterday, Clarke told Newsday the fact International Women’s Day is being celebrated tomorrow means now is an apt time to disclose that TT will be represented at the UN in a global conversation about women’s progress, challenges and opportunities. In discussing gender equality plus empowerment of rural females, the UN’s focus this year is on women’s access to the media and ICT to advance women.
“It is an opportunity of national significance to showcase on a global scale the good work being done in TT,” she effused. Clarke said the quartet’s visit is being partly sponsored by the Networks of NGOs for the Advancement of Women and the National Muslim Women’s Organisation of TT. Clarke said Lutchmansingh will talk about technology, Barrow on innovation, she on media and Mohammed on the environment. Saying these themes have an acronym, TIME, Clarke said this perfectly fits the conference theme–Time to capitalise change. Clarke said the team was shocked by how closely they felt an alignment with the forum’s theme–The time is now, rural and urban activists, transforming women’s lives. Clarke added, “It’s our opportunity to join the global conversation.”
Asked how the quartet’s visit to the UN might help TT, Clarke listed three ways. Firstly she said at the community level, she wants women and girls to see that nothing is outside their reach, but to feel “connected,” especially by people using their experiences to help others. To that end she had run music chambers sessions at St George’s College, Barataria, where guest soca stars were backed up by the school band.
Secondly, Clarke said at a national level, she’d like to see communities more involved to plug gaps in national policies on gender based violence, in line with one of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.
Thirdly, at the international level, she said participants at the UN event will discover their many mirrored circumstances at this powerful platform for conversation. Afterwards they will likely maintain contact by e-mail by updating each other on advances in each of their countries. “So, it’s about collaboration as well. We can connect with like-minded individuals pushing for change and development.”
Asked about gender-based violence, Clarke was glad that many men will attend the forum. She said unlike past discussions centring on how women can protect themselves from such violence, she prefers to see the conversation shift to how to change the thinking of men who might otherwise be inclined to violence.
“It’s not just a one-sided gender discussion, but has to happen with everyone.”