On Saturday, March 27th, 2021, BPW Concordia SXM, in collaboration with BPW Barbados and BPW Dominica, hosted a discussion under the theme: “CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE: Let’s Work Together For An Egalitarian World” to mark International Women’s Month 2021.
The word Egalitarian means:
- Believing in or based on the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities (Bing.com).
- A belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs. A social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people. (merriam-webster.com)
The objective of this event was to bring men, women, and various organizations from the Caribbean together to discuss gender equality and other forms of discrimination. The 2nd aim was to create a unified platform to help foster partnerships between various organizations that will help promote progress in achieving an egalitarian world.
The virtual gathering fittingly opened with the song “Ubuntu” by Colby and Awu as registrants tuned in from across the Caribbean, Europe, South, and North America at different times to listen to and interact with the 12 panelists, comprising of (listed in alphabetical order of first names):
- Ms. Abigail Christmas, Founder Perfect In My Own Skin organization (Dominica)
- Mr. Anderson Langdon, Head of Family Planning (Barbados)
- Ms. Cassandra Richardson, Co-Founder Wild Flower Institute (DSXM)
- Mrs. Danielle Chance-Glasgow, Founder United Women’s Book (FRSXM)
- Mr. Fabian Sargeant, President of the Men’s empowerment network support group to champion the cause of men. (Barbados)
- Ms. Hélene Micot-Bride, President of Soroptimist & Le Manteau (women’s shelter FRSXM).
- Ms. Lyndell Danzie-Black, Managing Director of Cerulean (Guyana)
- Mr. Phoenix Belfield, Economist & radio host (Dominica)
- Ms. Ramona Riley, President of Prominent Women’s organization (DSXM)
- Ms. Shara Edwards, Owner of Events Management and Market Enterprise – BPW Dominica
- Ms. Valérie Damaseau, Honorable 1st Vice President of the Collectivité of St. Martin
- Ms. Vanessa Fraser, Director Safe Haven organization (battered women’s shelter)
The well selected and knowledgeable panel did not disappoint as each delivered a content-rich speech on the topic from varying angles, which sparked healthy discussions with the audience. Topics covered included:
- Gender equality, gender equity, and their impact on our societies.
- The prevalence of spousal abuse, its contributing factors, and biases that promote the behavior.
- The need for men and women to see each other as allies instead of adversaries.
- Societal expectations are imposed only on the female gender, whilst systemically being more accepting of the male gender for the same given situation or action.
- The need for change in the legal systems to support gender equality.
- The need for more unity amongst women and a call to action for women to uplift each other. instead of competing with and bringing each other down.
- The societal pressures inflicted on single, unmarried, and women without children.
- The need for the 2 genders to become actionable agents of change by first introspecting in order to identify each’s own inherent biases.
- The dangers of body shaming & the need for humanity to accept each individual with their own uniqueness such as shape, size, height, disability etc.
- The importance of developing good self-esteem and self-love to combat spousal abuse and other societal issues.
It is a known fact that we all have biases or prejudices. Prejudiced is forming an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case and Bias is an inclination or outlook to present or hold a partial perspective on a topic. The common message from all the Panelists was that to become agents of change towards achieving an egalitarian world, we must first introspect, identify our own biases and prejudices, then we must stop acting on them.
The 3 club presidents, Kathia Magdeleine (BPW Concordia SXM), Nicole Alleyne-Phillips-Ayikpa (BPW Barbados), and Rhoda St. John (BPW Dominica), were very grateful to the panelists for the outstanding work done as well as to the registrants for their attendance and support. This means that to change we must know ourselves, what’s your bias?
The 3 clubs plan on continuing to strengthen their partnership and collaboration with other organizations, including men’s organizations.