Our Readers' Opinions
March 20, 2018
The issue of women in our society

Editor: The issues confronting women in our society has propelled me to lend my voice on these matters. Women play a pivotal role to the development of our social, political, religious, and economic landscape, especially in small developing states and as the world celebrated International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2018, it is disheartening to see that our women are seemingly backed into a corner to be silenced. Today, our women, even those in St Vincent and the Grenadines, are still living in fear; they are being raped, sexually exploited and are forced to trade their dignity in exchange for jobs. It appears that the honour that was once bestowed on our women is long gone and they are now seen as mere objects for pleasure.

Further, it appears that there are not enough strong groups to help protect our women or create an avenue where they are comfortable in reporting these ills. We must never forget our dear sister Rosa Parks, who decided that enough is enough, took a stance and single-handedly created a change; our own sister Luzette King, a woman with tremendous strength, continues to champion the cause for women. Women should never allow those efforts to slumber. Professor Dr Kristina Hinds, at the Cave Hill Campus, Barbados, recently demonstrated that women’s voices need to be heard. The protest she led was small in number, yet forceful and highlighted a greater call for all women to take a more active role in dealing with the issues that confront them and to send a strong message for men, especially those with political power, to rethink their approach when dealing with women within our Caribbean civilization. She refused to stay quiet, even when some thought she should have. Many young women should look to Dr Hinds for guidance and seek to emulate her courage and strength like their own. There are some who said they have fought in the past for people to be liberated, yet are calling for her to be fired. These self-proclaimed liberators, who silently oppress our women and girls, should hang their heads in shame. Even our very own Prime Minister led a protest of students, on October 16th, 1968, at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, fighting for what he deemed was injustice and abuse of power by the Jamaican Government on Professor Walter Rodney. (The Making of the Comrade 2010). This was welcomed and very much accepted by many and was never deemed “not the right place and time”. One can only assume that perhaps the leaders of the student protest might have been motivated by the astonishing pandemonium of youth-led movements in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Prague and Paris. This shows that standing up for a cause is nothing new nor uncommon. Whereas the issues are different, the principle of fighting for what you believe in remains the same. The recent march to celebrate International Womens’ Day in St Vincent and the Grenadines, where approximately three dozen women showed up, demonstrates the fear, the weakness and the fragility of our women, compared to our neighbouring counterparts, where hundreds marched, held concerts and showed their strength as women.

Women, I urge you to search deep within and find that strength and resilience; stand up for what is right, even if you stand alone.

Brenton Smith