Monthly Archives: December 2012
Marrianne Burnham, President Barbados Professional Women’s Club
As the holiday season approaches, I’d like to take the time on behalf of BPW Barbados to say a hearty thanks our staff, volunteers, club members, sponsors and donors who have made the year the success it has been.
Without the time and support of these generous persons and businesses, the BPW Crisis Centre, Shelter, Personal Development Programme for Unemployed Women, Candle Lighting Ceremony and other outreach initiatives could not have been possible.
We thank especially Barbados TODAY for their coverage of our events and promoting the cause. We thank the US Embassy, the Canadian Women’s Club and the Paloma Foundation especially, for their support of our projects to assist women and children in Barbados.
As 2013 approaches, BPW Barbados will continue to embody our international triennium theme Empowered Women Leading Business with a special emphasis on Women’s Economic Empowerment. Our mission is to continue to improve the lives of women through business and development, education and training, improvements in health and freedom from violence.
We recognise the simple business that: “When women are empowered as leaders and businesswomen in the local, national and global economies they encounter, and when women share a proportion of the wealth created by those economies which is equivalent to the proportion of their involvement, then private businesses, public institutions, governments, local communities, and families will all prosper.
“Business will see increased returns, and better collaborative outcomes; governments will see better results in education and health thereby reducing the welfare burden; families will grow wealthier, children healthier. Economies will grow larger. When women have a seat at the table, all these things will flow.”
BPW Barbados encourages the Barbadian woman to recognise her power, and understand that each and every woman has something to offer, to share and to give-back. We encourage the celebration and recognition of past and present female trailblazers in business, sports, politics, arts and culture, and traditionally male-dominated fields.
We encourage women and girls to become economically empowered, finding new ways and legitimate opportunities to generate their own income, supporting themselves and their families reducing vulnerability and dependency, eliminating poverty and abuse; ultimately contributing to the economic development of the great nation that we live in that is Barbados.
Happy Holidays and blessings to all!
Barbados Today Newspaper – http://www.barbadostoday.bb/2012/12/25/women-recognise-your-power/
Men on board
Signing in support.
The main NGO driving the 16 Days of Activism says it believes the men in Barbados are slowly becoming sensitised to the harms domestic violence perpetrate on women.
As a result, coordinator of the ongoing Clothesline and White Ribbon Campaigns, Andrea Gittens says that today saw a number of men stepping up to pledge their names toward stopping violence against women.
The Business and Professional Women’s group today erected their campaigns in the lobby of the National Insurance Building encouraging staff and visitors to talk about violence and make pledges to do something about it if they witness it or promise not to be perpetrators.
Gittens told Barbados TODAY she was heartened by the response of the men they had spoken with, given the relative newness of the White Ribbon Campaign.
“As it pertains to the White Ribbon Campaign, you can see the board is filling up fast. We have had a number of men pass through the building today, mainly people that work in the building and they have been very receptive to the ribbon and they are also signing off that they will not commit or condone violence against women, which we are very happy for,” she said.
Gittens and a number of other advocates to end violence against women shared statistics and other information about the effects of such acts, while encouraging especially the men to get involved.
“As you can see we are also hanging our Clothesline project again today, which is T-shirts with the stories of women depicted on them and as we try to stress, the white one were done by relatives or friends of victims who have passed away. So people are very receptive…
“We always get the men saying well we are victims too, but as you start to talk about the statistics as pertains to women then they become more open-minded. Because the White Ribbon Campaign is relatively new to Barbados, the men are now being exposed to it. Some have never really heard about it before so they are now being exposed and becoming aware of it and what it is about,” she added.
Tomorrow, men are expected to don their heels and other female shoes for the Young Women’s Christian Association’s Walk A Mile In Her Shoes observance which begins at 4p.m., at Cheapside by the General Post Office and ends in Independence Square. The event aims to raise awareness about gender-based violence in society by having men literally walk a mile in the shoes of a woman. (LB)
Committed to peace
Mikey sharing the message with students.
Soca King Mikey and two sets of youth dancers took a serious message to the St. Michael School this morning.
The message was about “Teen Dating Violence” and the medium was the arts and discussion as the soca monarch known for his groovy hits and social works teamed with the Business and Professional Women’s group.
Coordinator of the session, Andrea Gittens, explained that the Teen Dating Violence Campaign was one they used in schools to teach children about the red flags they should look for, about not hitting or abusing their partners/dates, and about how to seek help.
“We normally do this within the 16 Days of Activism with the boys and girls at schools. We were realising that not just adults, but we were getting teens coming forward speaking about being abused by their partners, and boys saying that the girls were abusing them as well. So this was our way of taking the message to them in ways they could understand,” said Gittens.
To get the message across in ways in which the children could relate and generate discussion, she added that they teamed with a number of local celebrities including Mikey, Blood, Lorenzo and John King.
Today, it also included a performance by the Influential Dancers, a troupe of boys, who joined with New Motion Dancers to act out a dance about domestic violence.
“In general the response has been very good. We had some very interactive sessions and the children tend to give lots of opinions, so it generates discussion,” Gittens explained.
This year was the first time though, she said, that the BPW had combined the Teen Dating Violence and the White Ribbon Campaign that focuses on men, into the programme for schools.
“A number of the boys signed onto the White Ribbon Campaign to say they will not condone or commit violence,” she added.
The campaign has already reached three schools, with another four to go before the 16 days end on December 10. (LB)
The cost of violence
Jamonica Beckles is a Domestic Violence Advocate.
Violence advocate, Jamonica Beckles, told a group of mostly women last night at the Garden Church of God in St. James that there was more than one way to sum up the damage done through domestic violence.
The Business and Professional Women’s group discussion held as part of the 16 Days of Activism, focused on Understanding Domestic Violence: A Local Perspective.
“In terms of costs, let’s look at the health care system. If a woman has been injured, what happens there? Medication that could have gone down the line to someone else has to go to her because of the injuries that she would have received,” she noted.
“In terms of the production line, if that woman produces five cans of drink per day, when she is not there then who produces that. So then the production line, there is a cost there and further along, the economy – instead of putting into NIS she is there to take out because of the illness, because of what she is going through; so there is a cost to it.”
Beckles went on to tell the audience, several of whom were members of the Church of God, that these costs, and the overall effects of domestic abuse could be helped with the involvement of institutions like the church.
“The church has a part to play. If there is a woman in the congregation that is going through domestic violence, moral support is so important. A woman who does not receive that support from you will drop out of that congregation,” she said, adding that couples looking to get married as well should go through counselling before tying the knot.
“As members of the church, you should know of the resources in your community in terms of where can I find a support group, where is the nearest shelter that women can go to, where can I find counselling for someone who is going through this type of abuse?”
Beckles told them as well, “Maintain confidentiality; that is big on the list. If a man or woman comes and confides that they are going through stuff, you need to maintain whatever that person says to you in the strictest confidence. You go out there and say, and by the end of the service the entire congregation knows she was beaten last night, that would be something else for that woman. You are traumatising that woman all over again by the stares she would receive or even by some persons who would be so bold as to pass and say stuff.”
She advised them as well that beyond just praying they had to get up and do something about the situation.