Posted: Thursday, March 23, 2023. 7:03 pm CST.
The views expressed in thіѕ article are thоѕе of thе wrіtеr and not necessarily thоѕе of Breaking Belize News оr thе Іnѕtіtutіоn hе ѕеrvеѕ.
Ву Dоrіаn А. Ваrrоw, Рh.D., Flоrіdа Ѕtаtе Unіvеrѕіtу: H.E. Rosanna Briceno, Spouse of the Prime Minister, and Special Envoy for Families and Children, was in Taiwan recently to participate in the Latin American and Caribbean Women Empowerment Forum where she shared an interesting personal story: “I was initially reluctant to assume the role of the Office of Special Envoy, and when I shared my apprehension with the Prime Minister, his response was that ‘the Ministers have much Bigger Fishes to Fry. Use your expertise in education,’ he said, ‘to the benefit of your Office’. So I decided that I would Fry my own Fish and I will do it my way”. Rosanna Briceno has metaphorically been doing that fish frying since November 2020 when she accepted the appointment as Special Envoy for Families and Children. But how does H.E. Rosanna Briceno fries fish?
For Rossana, “Frying Fish” is first and foremost about working with those ‘Ministers and Ministries’ of the Government to bring investments to programs and initiatives to help Develop and Empower women in Belize. Such programs and initiatives includes: Improving the Skilled Workforce; reducing unemployment and poverty; building the National Economy; and by so doing increasing the Country’s wealth. While in Taiwan, for example, Mrs. Briceno was able to pique Taiwan’s President Tsai’s interest to invest in programs and initiatives that will help to develop and empower women in Belize, including programs that will focus on decreasing Domestic Violence. “Since the COVID-19 Pandemic” Briceno says, :there has been an increase in domestic violence ; an increase in unemployment amongst women; and lost of livelihoods” and Rosanna has been working with GOB actively over the past two and a half years to try and improve the country in these areas.
Rosanna also works with GOB to provide entrepreneurial training and economic development for women. Additionally, she works on her own empowering women through education. She does a lot of this through her historical links to the education system working with select individual schools deploying education to build the capacity of women including those with special needs; redress generational and societal stereotypes of gender. As a lifelong educator, she avers that many of the changes needed in Belize can begin early. “These changes in the mind set of women that are so desperately needed” she says, “can begin in the classroom where teachers can design curricula to help address issues of gender and gendered stereotypes. Education can also help teach more girls to become entrepreneurs and can help build women’s entrepreneurial capacity and help to prepare them for entrepreneurial opportunities from which they have been hitherto excluded, especially at our Centers for Educational Technology – our ITVETS.”
They say that a strong woman knows that she has strength enough for the journey, but a woman of strength knows it is the journey where she will become strong. H.E Rosanna Briceno is a Woman of Strength and as a woman with a voice, she is, by definition, a strong woman (Melinda Galls, 2023). “I like Malala Yousafzai” Briceno says, “raise up my voice not so that I can shout, but so that those without voice can be heard. The treasure of life after all is not its duration, but as Carrie Boom says, ‘its donation’. For me, empowering women in Belize is not a goal, it’s a necessity”.
So in Rosana Briceno, we have a First Lady, who spends her time fighting for us on the International Circuit, hustling scholarships for high school dropouts, who is profoundly committed to the No Child Left Behind vision of George Bush (she says ‘No child should be left to fall through the cracks’), and actively promoting The Free Education For All from Primary School to Junior College in the Plan Belize Manifesto, which is for all intent and purposes, still just a good and noble idea – in motion but no sustained movement yet!
This month of March is Woman’s Month and the 2023 year campaign theme is “Embrace Equity: DigitALL – Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”. The organizers are calling for people to challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to bias, and seek out inclusion. For me H.E. Rosanna Briceno is a living example of a Belizean Woman who is doing all that and more. Thank you Rosanna for being the Woman you are. I could not imagine a Belize without you being a part of it, even though you seek no credit or accolades for the work you do. Happy Woman’s Month!
Feel free to challenge any or all of the claims made above, and let’s continue our thoughtful celebration of the empowerment of our Belizean Women.
Dr. Dоrіаn Ваrrоw іѕ сurrеntlу wоrkіng аt Gаlеn Unіvеrѕіtу аѕ thе Dеаn оf thе Dераrtmеnt оf Еduсаtіоn. Не hаѕ а lоng hіѕtоrу оf іnvоlvеmеnt іn еduсаtіоn іn Веlіzе, hаvіng ѕеrvеd аѕ а Lесturеr аt thе Unіvеrѕіtу оf Веlіzе, аnd аѕ Сhіеf Ехесutіvе Оffісеr іn thе Міnіѕtrу оf Еduсаtіоn. Dr. Ваrrоw іѕ аn еmіnеnt рrоfеѕѕіоnаl whо іѕ wеll rеѕресtеd bоth lосаllу аnd аbrоаd. Не іѕ ѕеrvіng аѕ аn еdіtоrіаl mеmbеr аnd rеvіеwеr оf ѕеvеrаl іntеrnаtіоnаl rерutеd јоurnаlѕ аnd hаѕ аuthоrеd mаnу rеѕеаrсh аrtісlеѕ/bооkѕ rеlаtеd tо еduсаtіоn. Араrt frоm еduсаtіоn, hе іѕ аlѕо а ѕроrtѕ еnthuѕіаѕt.
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