The country’s women are being urged to be their sister’s keeper as a way of empowering each other. The call was made during the JMMB’s Women’s Day brunch and panel discussion at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain.
During the panel discussion, women were encouraged to share their stories, be it successes or failures so as to empower each other. The event was hosted by the JMMB Group in collaboration with We Inspire Ltd, an NGO partner based in Jamaica, and the theme was, Stories of Sisterhood, Solidifying Networks for the Global Advancement of Women and Girls.
The event brought together stakeholders across TT involved in female development and empowerment, leadership, entrepreneurship and business. The panel included Cortia Bingham, founder and CEO of We Inspire, local make-up artist Angel Joseph and Maxine Attong, a local author. When the panellists were asked how they would forge a gender-equal world, Bingham told the women, “we must first build a legacy.”
She continued, “we are the ones who lose when we tear down our sisters, so I say lead by example. We shouldn’t say something and not do it. If we say it, then we should mean it. As sisters, we should connect and say something and commit to it for another sister.”
Whatever we choose to do in life we must do it with integrity because our young girls are looking on, she added. “Let us leave on our platforms to show those girls how to behave, act like a lady, how to connect as sisterhood supposed to look like. If we are not networking and giving back to create an impact we have already lost this race”
She called on women to also lead with love. “So many times we are in rooms where our sister’s name is being slandered and we need to agree to protect our sister’s name, promise and potential in rooms where they aren’t present.”
Bingham spoke of situations where men were intimidated by her strength and achievements. “I am a very powerful woman and sometimes it’s interpreted as being aggressive...but I own that and I celebrate that.”
She called on women and girls not to let similar experiences cause them to drop their standards or weaken their boundaries. “My husband had to rise up to my standards and I held firm. My point is, as women, let us not compromise who we are and our values for any man.”
The event also hosted discussions on the challenges women face when trying to gain acceptance and equality. Joseph said sisterhood and sharing each other’s challenges is important and can bring some sort of comfort. “Sometimes I do feel intimidated but when I start talking to other women I realise I’m not the only person who feels that way. That fear of intimidation should become a guide to us saying, ‘let me empower you. Yes, I feel ashamed. Yes, I feel naked but some part of my story will help you or inspire others.’”