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#402632 - 03/18/11 09:24 AM ANNUAL WOMEN’S SUMMIT HELD
Marty Offline
Women of all ages converged at the Radisson Hotel for the start of the sixth Annual women’s summit this morning. A panel of speakers was on hand to motivate and encourage the participants about two key topics of valuing oneself and bridging the gap of gender equality. Love News spoke with presenter Geovanni Brackett who gave us a male perspective on what men really think about equality.

Geovanni Brackett - Presenter

“No man or woman were created less and if we start on that premise we understand women are as valuable as men. I don’t think the fight should be trying to value yourself, if you see yourself as the image of God you understand you are of the highest priority. In terms of shared responsibilities, in terms of moving forward, I think that as Christ set the stage in terms of how he treated women with respect, how he used women as witnesses even in a time when women were not allowed to be witnesses in the course in the Jewish system. The message will be simply that women are priority, you are valuable and you start seeing yourself as that it wouldn’t be a completion between men and women but it should be based on purpose. Purpose precedes our existence and we are created for a purpose and if we ought to live out our purpose then it wouldn’t be a competition between men and women to o see who is the better leader. You should be the person you were created to be, whatever that would be, if it is a lawyer, a professor, a scientist, you can do all things who strengthens you and that’s how women ought to see themselves.”

As this year’s theme implies, Director of the Women’s Depart Icilda Humes says that sharing responsibility is not limited to finances but encouraging more couples to work together and become exemplary models for their children.

Icilda Humes – Director, Women’s Department

“The whole issue of co-parenting when there is a mother, there is a father, regardless of whether that couple is still together in a relationship, you are still parents and oftentimes we see that falling apart because people aren’t able to embrace the concept of co-parenting even if the couples aren’t in the same home together. Things like preparing meals; oftentimes we see women coming home from late from work, tired and the man is at home sitting down with the children and they are all sitting down there waiting for that woman to walk through that door to make that meal. It is not just about helping that woman, it’s not about feeding that woman, it is about helping your family and it is about setting an example for your boy children and your girl children because children are nurtured and certain behaviours are learnt. Shared responsibility and co-parenting and working together as a family team are things that can be learnt behaviours.”


#402635 - 03/18/11 09:29 AM Re: ANNUAL WOMEN’S SUMMIT HELD [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Gender Power and Equality at 6th Women’s Summit

Throughout this month activities are taking place to celebrate women and their achievements. The sixth Women’s Summit was held today, but it was not only about women and women’s rights, it also dealt with gender equality. The organizers of the summit also heard the views and ideas of participants on how to empower the female gender. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The sixth annual Women’s Summit was held at the Radisson today and despite its name, it was an event for both genders. It is one of the main activities on the Women’s Month calendar and is an avenue for organizations and the general public to discuss issues of gender equality and share ideas on how to move forward.

Icilda Humes, Director, Women’s Department

Icilda Humes

“The main objective of the Women’s summit is to provide women from urban and rural communities within the country with information about issues surrounding the theme for women’s month and getting ideas from them for possible programs and activities that would promote women’s empowerment. For us at the Women’s Department, Women’s Summit doesn’t end after today. That’s because we take the comments and views that come out of the discussions, assess them for practicality and look at ways to incorporate them into our programs and activities.”

Throughout the day, a total of nine panelists made presentations surrounding this year’s theme: Valuing Ourselves, Promoting Shares Responsibility. Those presenters included, Monique Nardi Roquette, who spoke on the meaning of gender equality and Giovanni Brackett, who gave the male perspective.

Monique Nardi Roquette

Monique Nardi Roquette, Presenter, 6th Annual Women’s Summit

“The objective of the presentation is to stimulate some thought of what gender equality means, in particular in the context of Belize, but also worldwide. In the opening remarks the director of the Women’s Department said that sometimes women can be our own worst enemies and I think that’s our first obstacle. We have to understand that we have to all work together to achieve the same objective. So if we start to understand what it really means and how really it would be valuing ourselves that we can reach tot that objective, then we can actually work together with men.”

Giovanni Brackett, Presenter, 6th Annual Women’s Summit

Giovanni Brackett

“Women and men have value of the highest worth in that they reflect the image of God and starting on that premise, women should value themselves, men ought to as well. Shared responsibilities; I think as you look at the role that women ought to play or males, I think sometimes the energy is focused in the wrong direction where it’s a competition, a battle between men and women.”

Icilda Humes

“This year’s theme for women’s month is more than just about promoting shared responsibility, it’s also about valuing ourselves as women. How do we do that? What does that even mean? Does spirituality even play a part in our personal value system? And how do we as women care for others without neglecting to care for ourselves?”

The United Nations Development Program was also represented and Ismirla Andrade outlined the successes in protecting women’s rights as well some of the shortfalls.

Ismirla Andrade

Ismirla Andrade, Prog. Associate/Gender Mainstreaming Officer, UNDP

“We certainly can be proud of the milestones made in the last century both worldwide and in this region with respect to women’s right particularly in the legal sphere where laws and policies have been adopted to protect and promote women’s rights. Women’s voices are heard more than before, even if it’s because they are louder. Much is still left to be done particularly where there are unacceptable rates of maternal mortality, when boys are still given priority over girls to attend school and when violence is still a reality in many households.”

And on the issue of shared responsibility, Icilda Humes, the Director of the Women’s Department, referred to a cooking course that was carried out for men, who wanted to help out in their homes. Humes says the program was a success and the participants were content, but the public reaction was disappointing.

Icilda Humes

“The department was bashed on national radio for daring to offer such a program for men. I think some people completely missed the point on that one. So to clarify, no our intention was not and is not to emasculate men and no we won’t be trying to put them into dresses anytime soon, despite what some people may think and no, we’re not trying to take over the world and run men out, we’re just trying to claim our space beside them and if needs be, in front of them.”

Delahnie Bain for News Five.

#402637 - 03/18/11 09:32 AM Re: ANNUAL WOMEN’S SUMMIT HELD [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Sixth Women’s Summit

The Sixth Annual Women's Summit was held today in Belize City. The event is a centerpiece event in the Women's Month Calendar where women from across the country to come together to discuss gender issues.

But it's not just one sided, according to Director of the women's Department Icilda Humes, they are also hearing from men:…

Icilda Humes, Director - Women's Department
"The sixth annual women's summit is taking place today as a part of our activities for women's month. The women's summit provides an opportunity for women from across the country - urban and rural communities to come together to discuss the issues associated with the women's month team. The summit really provides women with an opportunity to network and it's also base on education and information. We recognize that there is definite the need for a lot more public education on women's and gender issues because we recognize that both men and women still don't fully understand what gender equality really means. We thought it was very important for us to ensure that women need to have a clear understanding of what gender equality is all about. We will also have a presentation about boys and men and how we can engage them whether men and boys are really being marginalized. we will get some statistics and some information from UNICEF on that and then to wrap up the day - we will have two men who will be giving the male perspective on this whole gender thing and so that something we really be looking forward to because we want to hear what men are really thinking and we certainly don't want to leave them out - that's never our intention. Our intention is never to emasculate men. It certainly as we always say it's not a battle of the sexes, it's a battle against injustice so we are doing our best to engage men more in the work that we've been doing."

It was a one day event that went into the evening….

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