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Cuban women’s group changed my outlook

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20.FEB.09

EDITOR: Permit me a small space in your paper to express a few ideas. I was just a part of a three-day visit of two Cuban delegates from two women’s organizations: The Cuban Women Federation and The International Democratic Federation of Women. It was my esteemed pleasure to act as a translator to these two women, but beyond that is the wealth of information, knowledge and experience that these women have and were very eager to share with all present.{{more}} I was really happy to get the opportunity to learn a lot, and it has encouraged and stimulated me to become more proactive, and not so reactive as I was before.

If it is one thing that I acquired is a new found zeal to participate, to become more active and to share whatever knowledge I have with others. There are so many significant achievements that these organizations have accomplished, especially the Cuban Women Federation. Some of these include:

  • 65.6% of all Professional and Technicians in the country.
  •  72% of the labour force in the Educational sector.
  • 70% of the labour force in the Health sector.
  • 63.8% of General Doctors in the country.
  • 51.6% of all Researchers.
  • 48.9% of those employed in Scientific and Technical posts.
  • 75.2% of Social Workers.
  •  25.4% of self employed workers.

These are just a few of the achievements of the Federation. There is also a very strong campaign against breast and cervical cancer and a lot of work being done also in the campaign against HIV/ AIDS. I must say “Viva La Revalucion”. In these aspects, the Revolution in Cuba has been the fundamental driving force in the accomplishment of the aforementioned indices.

I know from spending six years of my life in Cuba that everything is not perfect there, but I can also guarantee that the only perfect place is the Holy Place – Zion. So in my analysis I must highlight the positives. The Cuban people are a people of great love and solidarity. If it is one thing that I have learnt there is that they give from what they have and not what they have in surplus. So when we analyze whichever situation, we should always take the good and throw away the bad, or in some cases we can try to change the bad.

I, therefore, bring the issues closer to home. We here have various problems, especially in the following areas:

  •  A steady increase in the number of HIV/AIDS cases, and a very significant amount of these cases are women.
  • Cancer of the Cervix and the Breast are in the top of the list of leading causes of death here amongst our women.
  • The high rate of teenage pregnancies is still alarming.
  •  The percentage of women represented in Parliament could be improved greatly. In my opinion, the women there are doing a good job. We just need more women to actively participate in Governance.

I think that we as women have to become more active in our homes, in our communities, in our jobs and our nation as a whole. There are quite a few outstanding women in our nation and who have lifted the hurdles even higher for the rest of us to follow. These women are too numerous to be mentioned. It has been sometime since we have named our first national hero, and I think we are in need of our first national Heroine.

In closing, I would like to encourage our women here in SVG to keep up the good work, but there is so much more to be accomplished. Let’s get up, become more involved and develop programs to help fight against the diseases that affect us the most. Food security is of utmost importance. Encourage the women farmers to continue doing their part and stimulate others to become involved. We have to create new and more practical ways to advance agriculture in our nation. After all, the agricultural sector is very important to the sustainability of any nation.

There is a great saying: Unity is strength – so let us all go beyond Party lines, religion, class and know that there is more to unite us than there is to divide us. Let’s all start working and stop the LONG TALK.

Angella Ideisha Jackson

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