International Women’s Day 2018 was observed on March 8, the day it is recognised annually.
This year’s International Women’s Day was celebrated under the theme, “The Time Is Now, Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives.”
The Bureau of Gender Affairs put out a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity; and a strong call to motivate and unite government agencies, NGOs, churches and communities to think, act and be gender inclusive – a fighting theme in light of the situation post Hurricane Maria.
“The theme highlights the need for us to mobilise communities, engage civil society and government agencies towards the ultimate goal of transforming women’s’ life and that is to empower them in all settings, rural and urban, and to celebrate the advocates who are working relentlessly to help women realise their full potential,” Permanent Secretary, Helen Royer remarked.
This year, the Bureau of Gender Affairs in collaboration with the Dominica National Council on Women (DNCW) has recognised Tina Alexander as the exceptional woman of 2018. Alexander was selected for her great commitment and work with women and children after passing of Hurricane Maria in September 2017.
Alexander is the founder of Lifeline Ministries in Dominica through which she channels her passion for children to enjoy their right to be safe, strong and free. She has a vision where everyone can access food, housing, education and healthcare, regardless of income, race, gender or religion. She aims to facilitate spaces where victims can come, broken, and transition from survivor, to advocate, to champion.
“I receive this honour on behalf of the women that I help, women who are injured in domestic violence situations, children who are exposed to sex way too early, teenagers who become mothers while they are still children and people who saw things in shelters they should never have seen. The work continues, and we won’t be quiet….” she said.
She has trained scores of volunteers to work in a victim support network and a teen mentoring group in collaboration with the DNCW.
President of the DNCW highlighted the difficulties that rural women in Dominica face particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
She said rural women must be given increased recognition and must be valued much more. She called on increased assistance for women in agriculture.