Dominica Freedom Party statement for International Women’s Day 2011

Political Leader of the Dominica Freedom Party Judith Pestaina

Today, I am taking the opportunity to address the women of Dominica since International Women’s Day falls on Carnival Tuesday when most Dominicans will be so engaged in those celebrations that the significance of that day may go unnoticed.

As we think of women and young girls at home and abroad, uppermost in our minds is  Shanice Jemmot who disappeared since February 17.  We are very concerned that as a people, individually and collectively, to date, all efforts to find her have proved fruitless.  This tells us  that  as a nation, we need to do more to ensure that we are our neighbour’s keeper and become more vigilant in monitoring  questionable activities and behavior which may be taking place in our neighbourhood that affect our young women.

Our concerns today are also for all those young women who continue to be abused sexually, emotionally and mentally with little or no recourse to justice. We would therefore like to call on all Dominicans to come forward to more effectively protect our young women from this kind of exploitation so that they can grow up in an environment which gives them the dignity and respect they truly deserve.

While the global theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women”, this has to be looked at in an international perspective since in Dominica, in principle,  women are not deprived from equal  access to educational opportunities in any field. In practice, however, this may be more of  an ideal than a reality because without the economic means which  enable access to education, training and science and technology, the pathway to decent work for women will continue to be a challenge.

Additionally, while we know that women work hard  to achieve what may sometimes seem to be insurmountable, we  need to ensure that they are not discriminated against because of their gender especially where the filling of key decision making positions is concerned.  We know too well that in many cases, women are the main breadwinners in the family.  Educating women is therefore paramount to the strengthening of families.
Statistics will also show that women make up the bulk of the workforce in many private and public institutions but are often afraid to come forward to represent the interests of women particularly in the political arena.

In that context, my message to women, especially young women, is that while you maximize the educational opportunities available to you, you must  not underestimate your ability and confidence in seeking to  carve out a pathway to decent work for yourselves. Believe in yourself. Develop the courage and self-esteem needed to ensure that you are empowered in all areas, cultural , political, social and  economic.  Stand up for principles which are unquestionable. Demand the respect that you deserve. Remember that Dominica is one of the 161 nations which have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

We hope that Dominica will continue to join efforts in fighting against continuing discrimination against women by supporting the newly formed UN Women which was recently launched by the United Nations. International Women’s Day is therefore an opportunity to support women at home and all over the world who continue to be oppressed and repressed. The Dominica Freedom Party fully supports any effort to increase women’s access to educational opportunities and the building of their capacity to do so.

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28 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    March 8, 2011

    peace to all.

    Maybe a mirror is in your reach Muslim always (living in the right way more than words), if you feel so strongly about the deen then protect the rights of muslim women and all other women. Do good in your community – its more than just talk

    Allah says: “[Ya Rasul Allah], call [people] to the path of your Lord with wisdom and good teaching. Argue with them in the most courteous way, for your Lord knows best who has strayed from His way and who is rightly guided.”

    zee zee ‘he is just proving that musliums are extremist and fanatical’ – no please please please dont think that sometimes a person lacks the ability to focus on the beauty of Islam, it is firstly about the worship of God, the doing of good, the giving to others! Not going to debate Islam with anyone on this article as wont take a second away from the good things this article brings up. dont use him as a measure for us all

    May our prayers of whatever faith be with Shanice Jemmot for her safe return and her family and friends stregth in the period untill God willing this happens . May our aim be to help the people who struggle. Oh lord hear our prayer

  2. zee zee
    March 8, 2011

    muslim always should not be able to continuosuly keep pushing his religion on this site, and outrage you are a good person, and i totally agree with everything you have replied with, i watched the 2 of you on a previous matter regarding islam.

    he is just proving that musliums are extremist and fanatical, to start on eugenia charles and saying those things are a disgrace, if he hates the way my beautiful country is run, then he should do what so many people on here have suggested, leave and go back to islam in the araba countries, but he wont because he is a coward, he might have to go to war to prove his dedication to his religion, not like his laid back freedom of speach life here in the nature isle.

    lets hope Mrs Pestaina, whom was a great help to Miss Charles during her time in goverment, takes no notice of this uneduacted idiot, and carry on the marvellous support she gives, all dominican people, no matter there political status.

  3. Sout Man
    March 6, 2011

    Who prevents you from having a men’s day on an international level. Men are not discriminated against as a matter of national policy in any country. Women, on the other hand, are prevented from attending school or driving in many Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, for example. Women suffer public humiliation like beatings, acid attacks and “mercy killings”. They are used as sex objects by husbands with multiple wives and are forced to cover up. They are not allowed to speak to other men.

    Sorry bro, you may be different, but that’s the reality in the Muslim world.
    Great focused speech, Mrs. Pestaina.

  4. Muslim_Always
    March 5, 2011

    Yes I agree with quite a number of points that Mrs Pestina made regarding women; if women are uneducated then this would paralyze more than half of the society. Strongly agree!

    Let’s flip the coin a moment. Do we have a men’s day on an international level? If not, where is the equality? Secondly, What about men who are verbally abused and disrespected by women? How about men who are physically and mentally abused? Mrs. Pestina spoke about discrimination regarding employment for women. Go to National Bank, Scotia or any bank, I challenge anyone, most of the tellers or the workers on the first floor are women. Women make up most of the labour force in this country. There are more female teachers in mixed schools. Educators and lecturers at formers teacher’s college have said that there is a need for more male teachers in the schools because too many women teachers have a psychological impact on male students and that there is an impact regarding role modelling and identity.

    • Anonymous
      March 6, 2011

      who prevents you from having a men’s day on an international level? Men are not discriminated against as a matter of national policy in any country simply because they are men. Women, on the other hand, are abused because of their gender. In many muslim countries, like Saudi Arabia, Taliban Afghanistan and many others, women are not allowed to go to school, nor drive. They are used as sex objects by husbands with multiple wives. They are forced to cover up and are forbidden from speaking to other men. Many suffer from public beating, acid attacks, “mercy killings” and a whole host of barbarian attacks in the muslim world.

      Sorry, bro, you may be different, but that’s the reality in the muslim world.

      Great focused message, Mrs Pestaina. I suggested you and Dr Wiltshire as opposition Senators to elevate the political discourse in the country. Some were only interested in using you on their “Committee to Restore Democracy” and failed to lay the ground work for an effective opposition that would serve as an alternative if push comes to shove. Enough said!!

      • Muslim_Always
        March 6, 2011

        The issue has nothing to do with women in Islamic countries today. I’m asking about men in the Dominican society. Secondly, women in Islam had rights 1400 years ago before the west could ever dream of having rights. Women were scholars, participated in government and played a crucial role in our societies. The things you mentioned about the Taliban or the Saudi Arabian society, this is completely divorced from the teachings of Islam, however, it’s culture. Similiarly, just as many evils occur in the Dominican society such as high pedophilia rate is far divorced from Christianity. Please be objective in your approach. Thanks.

        I do not believe that women are discriminated against in Dominica.

        • Sout Man
          March 6, 2011

          Bro, it would make more sense to acknowledge the inequality of women in the Muslim world than to complain about inequality of men in Dominica. Why do you want a men’s day on an international level if you are only concerned about Dominican society? How can you conveniently ignore what happens to women in Islamic countries when it suits you? Women may have had certain rights in Islamic countries 1400 years ago, but in the 21st century, these rights are sadly lacking.

          Furthermore, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”, said MLK. That’s why it’s called International Women’s Day. We must defend women everywhere. They are all grandmothers, mothers, wives, sisters, nieces, aunts and cousins.. And, oh yes, neighbours and friends!

        • Sout Man
          March 6, 2011

          How could I forget to emphasize that every woman is somebody’s child. Child abuse anywhere affects us all. Go Tasha P, Congratulations!!!

        • yep
          March 6, 2011

          the pedophilia rate is high evrywhere inclluding america, africa the middle east, asia………men are ——— men who preach on pulpit, muslim rlerics..they are all men…. and they perform these acts on innocent kids.you are such a hypocrite to not aknowlege the fact that women are being discriminiated agianst. well as for the women in muslim nations. just go to youtube and you’ll hear their tesitimonies. they are harrased constantly while walkiing on the streets by the moralitly police.and that is the lest of their problems. lets get back to dominica, please take on home owners that is single home owners and there more women jor men. are there more women who own land or men. do men and women recieve the same wage for the same job. how many government ministers are women. how many women primeministeres have we had. muslim ar esuffering form the worst kind of denial.

    • outrage
      March 6, 2011

      o god its you again, ok the banks more woman, what about the police force, the fire service, and bus drivers, 90-95 percent men, which i think you will find is a large number of the work force in dominica….

      • Muslim_Always
        March 7, 2011

        @ outrage and others: Next time a car in Roseau is stalling, stop waiting on men to push the car, get a group of women to jump start the car. Stop putting toilets for females and toilets for men, just have one equal toilets. Stop having clothes for women and clothes for men, both sexes should wear the same clothes.

        There is discrimination for everyone in this society including men. These feminist practices have only worsen family values in the west. We have more divorces due to these laws which goes against God.

        Please my critics, kindly show me from divine scriptures which is guidance for mankind where you got these feminist views from. Who did the Most High said is the leader of the home?

        Why should we want women to run a country? Dominica is already cursed and backward for having a female prime minister for 15 years. A woman’s place is in her home, to be instrumental in teaching the next generation which are her children. Look at Eugenia Charles, she died miserably, see how Allah disgraced her before she died. She had no children to continue her legacy, not even a husband! What an imbalanced way of leaving. She hated muslims, she knew about Islam yet her arrogance knew no bounds. Allah will deal with her on judgement day!

        Our people of Dominica are so naive. They have rejected the laws of Allah so their views of right and wrong has been corrupted. Dominicans support polytheism, homosexuality, fornication, alcohol, pork consumption, gambling almost all the filth in the world Dominica accepts it. How could this country be blessed.

        On the other hand, Islam teaches equality between men and women before Allah. However, there rights and responsibilities differ and both parties are pleased with their role as it’s for the betterment of the nation. We agree that leaders in the muslim world are not perfect so there are problems in every society, however, we see that the muslim families are far healthier than those of the west. It is so hard to find a virgin girl for marriage in Dominica, a woman that is chaste, whereas, it is far easier to find a chaste girl for marriage in Islamic societies. This is a known fact. Islam is against all these things that destroys a society, polytheism, fornication, adultery etc. This is what makes Islam the truth. All other systems are false.

        • outrage
          March 7, 2011

          yes muslim, why dont we get our men to beat us, why dont we cover ourselves from head to toe,[i am sure you enjoy watching all the women in there costumes during carnival] why dont dominican men all hang out together and leave the woman locked up home, and pleasure each other like muslim men do you only have to go back in time and read arabian nights to see where homosexuallity began,why dont families arrange marriages, and preform female circusision on our young girls before we sell them off at the age of 12, to some dirty old man.

          you go on about equal for women and men, muslim do not give equal, women are treated as the underdog, you would never find equal rights for women in the middle east, and sharing toilets, a muslim woman would be left to die, as a male doctor could not touch her, and i know of an incident of a muslim woman having to let her child die, as she was not allowed to drive a car as it is frowned upon , and she would have been stoned, yes stoned to deathj,
          you have no idea how it is in the middle east, and the way muslims treat women and why dont you go to london or new york and see all your hypocite muslim brothers in casinos, and buying high class prostitutes, male and female, while spending there hard earned oil money on millions of extravigant gifts like gold rolls royces, while people die of hunger and war in there oil rich country

          and on the most wonderful eugenia charles, that woman gave herself not to just dominica, but she spoke to the world from the white house on the caribbeans behalf, we dont give a flying toss about allah, she is with our lord in heaven where she is meant to be.her legacy was left behind in books and teachings

          and you know what pal you need to get ya ass back to the middle east with ya muslim ways cos they are not welcome in our CHRISTIAN country, stop putting people down, stop making everything religious, we are not intrested in your beliefs, they are YOUR beliefs so keep them to your self, and i am sure if any one wants to join your mad religion they will let you know.

  5. Emalie
    March 5, 2011

    Well really that is the job of an opposition, if you following the ideal of democracy. Many fail to realize that an opposition has the job to educate and motivate the citizenry and make positive contributions as she has done. Opposition does not necessary be an opposing factor

  6. Pedro
    March 5, 2011

    Thanks Mrs Pestina for your positive statement on the rights of women, but the present state of governance in our country only leads to the exploitation of women and girls. The only way to improve the rights of women is to provide them with financial independence. A system of government which promotes a culture of gifts and favours only lead to the exploitation of women and girls.

  7. Da
    March 5, 2011

    THE WAY TO GO ..VERY POSITIVE SPEECH AND IT WAS WELL DELIVERED AND RECEIVED. i SUPPORT THE MRS. PESTINA IN ALL HER EFFORTS TO BRING ABOUT SANITY IN OUR DOMINICAN SOCIETY.

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. THANKS TO DFP.SHE IS THE NEXT P.M , SOON TOO!!!

  8. Righteous!
    March 5, 2011

    Great Message! Young women listen and take this to heart:

    “Believe in yourself. Develop the courage and self-esteem needed to ensure that you are empowered in all areas, cultural , political, social and economic. Stand up for principles which are unquestionable. Demand the respect that you deserve”.

    Well said Miss P.

  9. Jaime Lewis
    March 4, 2011

    A very positive and timely message. As women we need to heed the call to rise and take our place in the political arena. We can be the strong leaders needed by our country and the world at large.

  10. Eyes Wide Open
    March 4, 2011

    I admire this woman so much. She is intelligent, eloquent and genuine. I hope that Dominicans can see that she is a true daughter of the soil.

  11. Traveler
    March 4, 2011

    Way to go Mrs. Pestina!

  12. v.g
    March 4, 2011

    i still remember those day;s as my french teacher at pss .miss garraway pestaina.you are still strong and intelligent good luck to you.

  13. women act now
    March 4, 2011

    Unlike our present women parliamentarians in Govt., who is yet to say anything, the statements are timely and very instructive. There are two women parliamentarians in the ruling DLP Govt. who need to rethink seriously as regards their continued support for Bad governance, corruption by those in Public Office and the blind condoning of the wrongs that their male counterparts are involved in. The evidence are numerous. They cannot even refute those allegations and facts. The silence of those female Parl. Reps concerning those wrongdoings is putting a stain on the achievements of women who have been fighting for decades against corrupt practices, immoral behaviours, machismo attitudes and marginalisation of women folks. There are numerous examples of those corrupt practices done by their colleagues and political friends which have not been dealt with. Those involved have not been brought to justice.

    The silence, of those two women in Govt. on pertinent issues dealing with abuses, crimes, criminal acts, illegal activities, are extremely loud. Women must never be allowed to be so manipulated by men in political office. Those women parliamentarians are failing Dominican women and men by refusing to denounce wrongdoings. Irrespective of who does the wrong, our women must advocate against such degrading practices as much as they advocate against child and women abuses. Too many of our women do not stand up for principles, or good moral values. It is a SHAME on them. While some of our women are not afraid to speak out and act against abuses, corruption and bad policies, others are bringing shame and disgrace and reneging on their role to expose immoral, unethical attitudes that is bringing the country down.

  14. Just Astonished
    March 4, 2011

    Great positive comment Mrs. Pestaina. You can make a difference.

  15. Dominican For Life
    March 4, 2011

    Excillent job Judith! I hope the others in Dominica will follow your positive path.May God bless you and the Dominica Freedom Party and the citizens of The Commonwealth of Dominica.

  16. What dat!
    March 4, 2011

    That’s it Judith. Show the other Party what it is to be a responsible opposition and stop following them in their nonsense. Maybe then the people will begin to take the once powerful DFP seriously again.

    • wow
      March 5, 2011

      True

  17. outrage
    March 4, 2011

    dewoman is awesome, i hope she is our PM one day, she will do DA good

  18. No Dog Bark
    March 4, 2011

    That’s the best statement I’ve seen from the Dominica Freedom Party in years.

    • Accept your Reality
      March 4, 2011

      You are so right; the message was quite positive indeed…I love the tone of this message

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