PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Women, both locally and internationally, are making a difference in our society today – whether economically as hard-working entrepreneurs or by participating in almost every field, including the most difficult role we play as mothers and leaders in our families. Women have made strides in research, science, medicine, politics, education, business, culture, arts, sports and in leadership roles within the private sector, social sectors and within government’s various organizations. All this has been achieved despite the inequalities and prejudice which still exist in our society and around the world.
Yet, on March 8, the world recognizes that all women everywhere deserve to be celebrated for the extraordinary contributions we make in our communities, our triumphs despite obstacles brought about by society’s rules, norms, and inequalities, and our unmatched courage in the face of current challenges.
We recognize the late Mavis Brooks-Salmon and Daniella Jeffry, living legends Jas Labega-Bryan, Elaine Gumbs-Vlaun, Maria Liberia Peters and current leaders Clara Reyes, Nicole de Weever, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Vice President Kamala Harris as role models throughout history and today; examples of unprecedented strength, commitment and courage. These women have brought recognition and honor to the value of women in leadership and their contribution to the development of society will go down in history. Today we join the international community in the celebration of International Women’s Day under the theme ‘Break the Bias.’
Women everywhere continue to strive for our voices to be heard, to be judged according to the quality of our work and to be treated equitably in and outside the workplace. To do so we recognize that we must continue to challenge any system, which deliberately or unconsciously, allows gender biases to exist.
St. Maarten joins in the fight for a world free of bias against women, and envisions a world where differences are valued, respected and even celebrated – A world where we measure a woman by the content of her character and actions, and not by her gender.
Women of St. Maarten, we are called upon to exceed expectations and continue to lead by example within the region. Since 10-10-10, St. Maarten has surpassed quotas of women in leadership with equal pay, including Presidents and members of Parliament, Prime Ministers, Ministers in Government and in leadership throughout the organization at all levels.
Our best effort to achieve our goal of promoting gender equality and thereby ‘Breaking the Bias’ is our determination to continue to uplift each other and celebrate positive examples of female leadership and inspire young women and girls. Simultaneously we must teach our boys and men that they have a key role in fighting for equality, uplifting, celebrating, and supporting our women, as mothers, sisters, colleagues and friends. I challenge and encourage us all to take time to honor the women in St. Maarten making a difference during the entire month of March.
As Prime Minister of St. Maarten, a woman leading in these unprecedented times, I wish a Happy International Women’s Day 2022 to all women around the world, but especially the women and girls of Oualichi – Land of Strong women. Together we can make a difference!
“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg