FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – St John’s, February 8, 2022 – Nineteen aspiring women leaders connected with current female leaders today at the Directorate of Gender Affairs’ (DGA) Future Women in Politics Symposium. The event was held to commemorate, International Women’s Day under the theme #BreaktheBias. The National Youth Parliament Association partnered with DoGA on the event and led the participants in a mock Parliamentary debate, giving the participants first-hand experience using Parliamentary procedures and refining their public speaking skills. IWD 2022 Coordinator Raisa Charles, says the theme and the event aimed to dismantle harmful stereotypes related to women’s participation in politics.
“While women play a strong supporting role within the administration of the political parties and there are no legal barriers to women entering the political field, we continue to see only a few women represented as Ministers of Government. This suggests that what blocks women and girls from careers in politics is what they are socialised to believe is possible and appropriate for them. By exposing them to the finer points of the Westminster system and providing a space for them to connect with women who are already doing the work the Directorate hopes to give women in Antigua & Barbuda a new vision for themselves,” she says.
The Honourable Minister with responsibility for Gender Affairs, Dean Jonas, offered remarks during the opening ceremony where he advocated for increased public awareness on of harmful impact of socially-ingrained gender roles on women and girls. “Over the years, there have been many prescriptions for what women’s professional choices should look like. These prescriptions and views have been indelibly shaped and influenced by harmful gender role expectations and perceptions.”
The Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Barbuda Affairs, Samantha Marshall, delivered the keynote address at the event. She lauded the work of Dame Nellie Robinson, Dr Jacqui Quinn, and Joanne Massiah, for their contributions to national development and paving the way for women and girls in Antigua & Barbuda. However, she noted that we must continue to continue to include more women in all levels of the political arena.
“We must push the boundaries further,” she said. “We must strive for more women in the house of representatives, more women in the Senate and more women at the helm of political parties.”
Senators Gail Christian and Aziza Lake also made presentations throughout the day, focusing on understanding the Westminster system of government and using advocacy to lead purposefully.
About the Directorate of Gender Affairs
The Directorate of Gender Affairs (DoGA) is a division within the Ministry of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development, and the Blue Economy. As the national gender machinery and focal agency for gender and development in Antigua & Barbuda, the DoGA’s focal mandate is to empower women and promote gender equality nationally.
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Name: Raisa Charles
Phone: +1 (268) 462-3990