International Women’s Day is an appropriate occasion to reflect on their position in today’s world. Apart from the traditional role in raising families, an ever-growing number have become very involved with every aspect of modern society.
Female leadership is key to this trend certainly in St. Maarten. For example, of the 15 current members of parliament (MPs) six are women, a ratio that probably would not have been likely a few decades ago.
The Dutch Caribbean is historically known for such also in the executive branch like with former Antillean Prime Ministers Maria Liberia-Peters and Emily de Jongh-Elhage of Curaçao, to which list current Prime Ministers Silveria Jacobs of St. Maarten and Evelyn Wever-Croes of Aruba may be added.
All this does not guarantee anything for others struggling to overcome still-existent male-chauvinist attitudes and practices. Efforts to support them in exercising their full equal rights must therefore continue unabated.
Having positive role models can be a big help in that sense. For starters, it sends a powerful “if she can do it I can too” message.
But it’s not just about high-profile jobs. The only possible conclusion from examining the general contribution of local women to the island’s development would be that it has been nothing short of stellar.
There always remains room for improvement, of course, but more admiration, respect and recognition are undoubtedly in order. So, hats off to our grandmas, mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, girlfriends and all ladies where this newspaper is read on their special day.