March 10, 2006

WINFA Recognises Women’s Day

WINFA joined the rest of the international community on Wednesday in celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD). That day is celebrated all over the world, it first started in 1910 in Copenhagen, as a day when the achievements of women and the main issues which affect their daily lives are put in global focus. {{more}}

Since 1910, women have made many advances in almost all areas of economic, social and political life and the struggle for gender equity is now an irrevocable course. Still, many women, specifically the rural and urban poor, unemployed mothers, single parent mothers, face serious economic, social and financial hardships. Children are not adequately fed, clothed or schooled owing to very little or insufficient income to maintain the family. Some women have remained dependent solely on their spouses and on other meagre sources of income for sustenance for themselves and their children.

Right here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, rural women, particularly women farmers, are hard hit with limited or no market for their produce, as well as rising prices, unemployment, HIV/AIDS, which result in general economic hardships. In the face of all this our rural women continue to be the bedrock of our rural life. Without their contribution our fragile claims to food security would be a sham, our community and church organisations would collapse and our children left to flounder.

It is in recognition of this that the women of WINFA and their male counterparts are celebrating IWD 2006 under the theme ‘RURAL WOMEN: Pillars of Sustainable Livelihood’ We pay tribute to their role in feeding the nation, from the field to the pot, their magnificent contribution to the success of the Fair Trade initiative, not only do they make up almost 40 percent of Fair Trade farmers but they are among the most outstanding, productive and organized. For their commitment to the development of their communities and the nation as a whole WINFA heartily salutes them.

We salute our female farmers, food processors, market women, female traffickers in agricultural produce. We salute our female community and church leaders, our young women who had outstanding achievements in education, sports, youth organisations and community development in our rural areas.

As we do so, we urge our women to take a conscious look at what is taking place around them. There is need for greater attention to be paid to the impact of globalization on the rural economies and the effects on the livelihoods of our farm families. Despite all odds it is the women who are standing up to the challenges of globalization and they remain the major pillars within their communities.

WINFA pledges our unstinting and continued support to their efforts.

We therefore urge all our women to stand firm, stay focused and to unite as one always.