News day / “We see the reports on a daily basis in the newspapers. I am beginning to sound like a stuck record. Senseless violence against our women is now a national plague.

“And it matters not who you are or where you come from. In some sectors of our society, it is simply that the abuse is suffered in silence.

“We talk about women in the changing world of work, and assume that most women are working,” she said.

Mrs Rowley was addressing the URP’s International Women’s Day (IWD) celebration at City Hall, Port-of-Spain.

She questioned whether a woman could hold down a job when she is persistently absent because she has to deal with being bruised and battered in the home because her man wants to show that he is the boss? Mrs Rowley also asked, “Can a woman be alert in her job when half the night she is up rubbing the feet of her alcoholic man, and if she stops for a second, it’s licking for her? Can she be treated equally in the office when she is always late for work because while her man sleeps she has to be up by 3.30 am to go to the market to buy fresh chicken to cook before going to work since her husband doesn’t eat frozen chicken? Can she be at ease in the office when the smell of dog mess he threw on her because she didn’t clean it up stays in her nostrils? Can she think of equality on the job when on a daily basis he threatens to kill her and her children?” She said many women live in fear.

Rowley encouraged the women in the audience not to let the circumstances of their lives, where they came from or how much money they have, prevent them from advancing themselves.

“The way in which we think of ourselves has everything to do with what we do with our lives. When you succeed, not only do you clear the path for yourself but you clear the path for your children and their children.

“Let your motivation come from the negative stigma that is placed on your community. The key is to have a positive outlook on life, prove your detractors wrong,” she advised.

Rowley said it is hoped that by 2030 men and women will be treated equally, and in the workplace, they would be paid equally, would be given the same opportunities and would lead equally.

“Education is our best chance for our future, not just for ourselves, but for our children, our family and the nation. We must all ensure that we are equipped to work. We must take advantage of the opportunities which are given to all of us. We must let our children take advantage of the opportunities.”


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