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Leader of the Opposition and Member of Parliament for Siparia, Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar outlines some of the main challenges that women are facing in the midst of the pandemic. She urges for strong leadership and calls for action over words, to help our women. Details follow in this message from the Opposition Leader:

I join the national and international community in celebrating the determination, resilience and courage of women and girls on International Women’s Day. This year’s theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” focuses on the disproportionate burden of the impacts of the climate crisis on women and highlights the critical importance of including women in developing solutions to this crisis.

In addition to the impact of the climate crisis, women are also being disproportionately affected by the socio-economic impact of the ongoing pandemic. Right here in Trinidad and Tobago, we are seeing instances where women are being faced with difficult choices with regard to their family life. While some have lost their jobs, others have had to choose to stay at home to care for and take care of their children’s online learning. Many have also been subjected to increased levels of violence both in and out of the home.

Very little has been done by the State in assisting these families, or in creating the opportunities for them to change their circumstances.   

We must do more to end inequality and break gender biases so that our girls, women and indeed all citizens can realize their potential.  There must be a focus on education and skills training, the creation of sustainable, well-paying jobs, as well as incentives for the growth of entrepreneurship.

I reiterate the commitment of the party I lead, the United National Congress, to continue to elevate the voices of women, and to build a society where every citizen, male and female, is given equal opportunity and better quality and standard of living.

Most importantly, we need action, not talk. Strong leadership is required to confront the challenges we face, and it is up to us to continue to work towards the empowerment of our women.