Minister Charles bats for equal rights and opportunities for women

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Hon. Justina CharlesMinister for Culture Justina Charles has raised concerns over the number of women in leadership petitions within the various spheres of the society and has questioned whether a culture of equal rights and responsibilities is being practiced here.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a Young Women’s Leadership Training on Tuesday at the Garraway Hotel, Minister Charles, while pointing out that statistics show girls out-perform boys academically in Dominica, asked: “Where are we on the issue of women in leadership in Dominica and in the Caribbean region?”

She singled out the education system here where the majority of teachers are women.

“So the questions are: what proportion of women are in leadership role within the education system? What proportion of women are in leadership roles in politics and in the corporate world? Are we really practicing a culture of equal rights and equal opportunities for women?” she asked.

“Increasing the voice and participation of women in politics is critical for putting women’s issues on the various national agendas. How many women are in leadership roles on the political platform in our respective countries? Your answer to this question may lead you to conclude that we must continue to work and provide opportunities to strengthen the voice and access of women in all spheres.”

Charles assured that her concerns are not intended to downplay men. “It is not a matter of dismissing men but for saying that women and men should work alongside each other so that no gender group is marginalized and that each group understands each others rights to participate and contribute fully in society,” she stated.

She said that women need to be empowered to be agents of social transformation “so that besides taking care of their families they participate fully in everything that affects their future and fully enjoy all their human rights and fundamental freedom”.

Charles is convinced that when women develop and cultivate their leadership skills they will be able to actively participate in community building and thereby enhance their contributions to civil society.

Meanwhile, regional coordinator of the workshop Virginia Albert-Poyette said that while she supports the view that women ought to be granted more leadership roles, these roles should be given to deserving women.

“It’s not a matter of patronizing women or patronizing men. It’s a matter of giving them the necessary skills and the knowledge so that they can assume leadership. I do not support the idea of putting women in leadership positions just for leadership sake,” she said.

“You have to be able to perform. You must be able to deliver and you must be a woman of quality. So we cannot just say oh, we need women … because you wear skirts we will vote for you – no…but how do we get women of substance and women of quality? We must train them,” she stated.

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  1. My opinion
    November 27, 2010


    Women should not lead a nation! Dominica is cursed today because you allowed a woman to rule over you. :evil:

    • jah
      November 29, 2010

      What that suppose to mean?

      Why is the mistakes of one woman being used to whip the others?

      There are women in Dominica who are much better suited for running this country…

  2. Grand Bay overseas
    November 26, 2010

    Well said u remind me of your deceased husband……Dominica at heart
    u go lady Minister! Proud of you

  3. Nathaniel Peltier
    November 26, 2010

    From the article above woman are very aware of  the problem. Training and as Minister Charles says she is ” convinced that when women develop and cultivate their leadership skills they will be able to actively participate in community building and thereby enhance their contributions to civil society”.
    So one can say while there my be some issues in society that causes the lack of women in Leadership positions. The main fact are that they are not ready to take that step or some not qualified enough.
    The woman who have shown that they are have aspired to very great things.
    Makes no difference to me man or woman as long as you have the “stuff”.

  4. Anonymous
    November 26, 2010

    ya thats right show them that woman are more than what they think

  5. Mo
    November 26, 2010

    There you go a positive voice for Dominican women inspiring young women & girls to stand for equal rights and justice.

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