Posted: Tuesday, March 1, 2022. 2:23 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Minister of Human Development Dolores Balderamos Garcia and President of the National Women’s Commission (NWC) Thea Garcia Ramirez released separate messages to mark the start of Women’s Month.
In announcing the theme for this year – #BreakTheBias – the Minister explained, “This theme is inclusive and significant in our efforts to empower women and girls, and in working towards achieving gender equality. We can reimagine a world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.”
She stated further that action is needed to counter bias in areas such as education and employment, and that women should be celebrated and valued for their differences and for being women.
Mentioning the recent unanimous support in the National Assembly for the Domestic Violence Statement Motion, Balderamos-Garcia said it underlined the first time such a stand had been taken, and that the issue has been elevated to one of national importance and a plan for individual and collective action laid out. Likewise, there is widespread support for a pardon to domestic violence victim turned convicted and condemned murderer Nora Parham.
Minister Balderamos-Garcia called for boosting representation for women on major issues such as climate change and poverty and promoting education, health and wellness, and productivity. “When women are meaningfully represented and engaged in leadership bodies such as the Legislature, courts, executive boards, and community councils, laws, rulings, and decisions are more likely to be inclusive and representative and diverse views are taken into account,” she said, underlining the Government’s initiatives to help women gain power.
Garcia-Ramirez echoed the call for greater women’s representation in national affairs. “The importance of women’s leadership and participation cannot be over-emphasized. Appointing the token representation is not nearly enough. Studies show that we need at least 30 percent to truly make a difference in any organization. Belizean values can only be truly reflected in decisions of the state when the governance of our country better resembles the society it represents.”
The NWC’s mandate, she said, is a Belize that is “free of bias, stereotypes and any kind of discrimination…a Belize that is diverse, equitable and inclusive…where all our differences are celebrated and valued,” and to challenge bias starting in the home and spreading to school, businesses and other areas.
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