International Women's Day.

Author:Quinn-Leandro, Jacqui

It is always a pleasure and an honour for me to speak on the occasion of International Women's Day, and each year that we attempt to raise awareness and to bring women's issues to the fore; one gets a sense of euphoria for the day; and a sense of falling back into the 'same-old-same-old' after March 8th. But I am buoyed by the Scripture found in Galatians 6:9 which admonishes us "Do not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

It's hard to believe that it's been an entire year since we all met at this very venue and celebrated womanhood in a manner which has left a lasting impression on many of us. Many experiences were shared. Moving encounters of health challenges; of being the lone woman in an industry dominated by men; of being thrust suddenly into positions of single parenthood and breadwinner; of mental and emotional survival after rape. The stories were varied but the common thread running through them all was the indomitable strength and spirit of a woman.

I reflect on last year's celebration because it's good to hear stories which inspire us but it is if and how we use that inspiration in our own lives that truly make the difference. It is important that when such a fire of inspiration is lit within us that we pass it on. It is how we bear each other up; it is how we continue the movement of gender equality and equity; the movement of empowerment for our girls and women; the movement for the eradication of gender based violence and all the issues that affect women.

The gathering of women together, particularly on International Women's Day, ought to be more than only a celebration of womanhood. What we celebrate are our milestones; our battles won; our continued causes because while we celebrate, countless women across the face of this earth have nothing to smile about. They are subjected to a life of sub-humanity for the sheer fact alone that they were born female.

When I was asked to speak this morning, I thought about the possible themes which I would like to share with you sisters; and before me flashed a multitude of these issues which haunt us every day, every month, every year. And one which jumped out at me which is a significant stride we have made since the last IWD is the passage into law of the Human Trafficking legislation and the very first cases which are now before the courts of trafficking in women, one of the most despicable violations of humanity and womanhood.

Whether we want to...

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