YWCA challenged to take on a greater advocacy role for gender equality and womens empowerment

Date: Monday, September 8, 2008

Speaking at the installation of the Board of Management for the Barbados YWCA, Roberta Clarke, Regional Programme Director of UNIFEM, lauded the Y's long history of service and social action.

Referring to the Y's encouragement of leadership qualities such as shared leadership, nurturance and doing good for others, Clarke echoed the call for the YWCA to help the world to understand and be principled about values that really matter.

"What are those values? I would say fairness, non-discrimination, accountability, the rejection of gross inequalities whether gender, class or colour inequalities; and service, paying forward and giving back. An articulation of these principles in relation to the empowerment of women would lead to calls for prioritisation and resources directed to ending violence against women (whether in the home or the streets); better social protection support for single mothers; better state regulation of regular and adequate financial flows from fathers to mothers for the care of children; advocacy and incentives for shared family responsibilities by fathers; and active work by political parties to ensure that half of the Parliament seats are occupied by women. The latter being a prerequisite for a more perfect democracy as well as efficiency and responsiveness of the state."

Marilyn Rice-Bowen, President of the YWCA, spoke to a number of social service programmes in place, including the Reading Club and Breakfast Club; the latter club serves hundreds of school children a daily breakfast.

The YWCA of Barbados plans to use the 'Women Leading Change' theme as a driving force for their work over the next two years.

Contact the YWCA at ywca@sunbeach.net