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Women must take the lead, says Forde

Women must take the lead, says Forde


Over time, women have proven that they are the leaders of change.

This was the premise of the feature address delivered by former senator Rochelle Forde{{more}} as the Unity Labour Party Women’s Arm held its convention at the West St George Secondary School last Sunday, October 30.

According to Forde, there have been a number of outstanding female pioneers locally, regionally and internationally.

“The Caribbean in general and St. Vincent and the Grenadines in particular gives copious examples,” she said.

“The public service has for years seen women taking leadership positions in senior posts.

Our women are permanent secretaries, head teachers, heads of departments, ministers of government, attorneys general, forensic scientists, senior medical officers, fiscal advisers, heads of electoral departments, cabinet secretaries,” she continued.

The private sector, too, has not escaped the presence of influential women, she contended, for women are farmers, doctors, entrepreneurs, engineers, lawyers, leaders of Non Governmental Organizations, heads of university campuses, all of whom have been working to ensure that the nation is ready for the battles of the 21st Century.

She thanked those who had gone before her, but took time to show those present how they, too, could use their skills as leaders to effect change for the benefit of the country.

The negative influences which confront young people today mean that they need the assistance of positive groups to keep them grounded, Forde explained.

“And we as women must take the lead and get our children involved in meaningful extra curricula activities,” she said.

Females have been outdoing their counterparts, Forde contended, but she contended that it was important for women to work together to reintroduce a sense of ambition among young men.

“My, how the tide has changed. What a reversal of the roles,” she said, adding that it may be the possibility of intellectual inferiority which led men to feel that they must show their physical prowess.

“I do not know, I’m not by any measure a psychologist, but we must attune our minds to any and all explanations for the outbreak of violence against women and thereafter attack it on all fronts.”

She referred to the recent spate of heinous acts of violence against women.

“As leaders, we must be the driving force for quickly changing the attitudes of young men and boys towards women,” Forde explained.

Children, and in particular male children, value women’s opinion and guidance, and it was important that women and leaders of change mold the attitudes and thought processes of young men and their general approach to women from an early age.

“And so I say to some of you grandmothers, stop making excuses for your lazy grandchildren. You can’t say he is a good boy or she is a good girl and she takes care of you when you know that she is giving you money and yet she doesn’t have a job,” she said.

Times are hard, which warranted creative ways for survival, and this according to Forde came naturally to women.

“Have you ever seen a single mother, who is on a small fixed income ensure that her children have all their books for school, new uniforms, clean clothes, new church shoes, something to eat and a little bit still to put in her book by the credit union?”

She made the point that no one of has a monopoly on ideas, so women must also be willing to share with each other the innovative means of survival.

“There is no shame in teaching someone how to make ends meet; there is no shame in helping your sister to provide for her children.”

“My sisters, there is a fundamental difference between genuine help and being malicious,” Forde said.

The Unity Labour Party, through its policies and its approach that everyone is human and has value, she contended, has inculcated in Vincentians a confidence that prior to did not exist.

Women are the leaders of change and must be fired up about effecting change.

Those present also elected a new executive; Nichola Evans was reelected as president of the ULP Women’s Arm, with Audrey Gilkes elected as vice President.

The rest of the executive is Denise Black Executive Secretary, Patrice Barker Treasurer, Nicole Edwards Recording Secretary, Bethel Ollivierre Sports and Cultural Officer and Jenifer Woods Fund Raising Officer.