Message International Women’s Day 2022
By: Dr. Nilda Arduin
In the midst of the many issues and challenges facing our world, commemorating and celebrating women’s accomplishments today is even more important in order not to be distracted and lose sight of the plight. So, I salute the many concerned persons all over the globe, who kept the torch burning to empower women over the years.
Though much has been achieved to break the bias since the Women’s lib movement and feminism of my youth, there is much work yet ahead of us to raise the image of women in leadership and awareness for gender equality. Having moved from leadership within the household to the highest echelons in the corporate world, public power and authority, we should to take stock as we forge forward.
We should acknowledge that it is no longer a man’s world with an itsy bitsy touch of a woman in the Western hemisphere. Women have made strides and have taken over some sectors of the working society. The Caribbean has seen many female leaders of Government over the years.
Looking back at a career of forty-five years of formal engagement as a teacher, attorney and legal consultant, and the first Ombudsman of my country, I took stock of some main challenges encountered, and most importantly, how I dealt with and overcame them. Findings too numerous to share here. I have learned however that one should be prudent not to define gender equality with perceived male standards. Female leaders are characterized by often prioritizing personal development, bringing different skills to the table, details, creativity, imagination, a new sense of awareness and perspectives for problem solving and leadership. Their nurturing instinct may play a role in supporting the development of others in order to make a real and lasting difference where they are.
As a leader in my fields I have also learned that it is pivotal to be aware of your limitations and own (un)conscious bias, develop self-confidence to seize opportunities and take risks, stay inspired by being passionate and curious, be comfortable and stay true to your values and norms. The importance of being a voice at the table and not an afterthought, inspire and empower other women, while you are at the top.
And lastly, I have learned that humility directs your ego away from yourself to a larger good. It opens up possibilities, develops an open mind and curiosity, rather than protecting only your own point of view. And so, I conclude and hope to inspire the next generations: to belief in yourself, be willing to learn and nurture others, focus on achieving the set goals (both personal and collective goals), lead with decisiveness, be passionate and open-minded, question the status quo, be not afraid to admit when you do not know and ask for help. Leadership is established by actual accomplishments, and willingness of others to follow.
To young women I say: Be a change agent, lead by taking charge and ownership of your career.
To the women of my generation I say: Do not underestimate the value of having paved the way for younger generations. As a result, humanity is not deprived of the many talents and contributions of women, which were previously denied.
Happy Women’s Day!