As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I recognize the women in this country, many of whom have been on the frontlines in the response to COVID-19. Women have played a significant role in helping to flatten the curve of infection and to position their families and our country for economic recovery.
Throughout the pandemic, women from all walks of life have played critical roles in generating ideas and finding solutions to balance their work and family life and engaged in meaningful activism to protect their communities.
Women also typically did the vast majority of unpaid or low-paid – but essential – care work to ensure the society remained safe: from healthcare workers who had to adapt to new procedures, to educators who had to create new ways to teach, and hospitality workers who had to learn a new set of guidelines to take care of guests and keep their properties safe.
These are just a few examples of the many that demonstrate how significant the impact of women has been in managing the pandemic.
It is common knowledge that women live longer than men, earn less than their male counterparts and are more likely to dip into and out of the workforce to have children or take care of elderly parents – all of which can limit their earning potential.
Accordingly, the number of women in business management and leadership positions remains far too low.
As we shape strategies for social and economic recovery, the UPP will create educational opportunities for women, particularly in financial literacy, investment, First Aid, and entrepreneurship.
We will empower our women to be “mistresses of their own destiny,” so that our society can benefit more from their dedication and leadership style. And we will also create special grants and funding programmes to support female-owned and -operated businesses.
The UPP has always embraced women and prides itself on being the Party of “firsts” in their elevation: a female MP and Cabinet Member; female Governor-General; female Commissioner of Police; and female Ombudsman. The next UPP Administration will ensure there is an even greater representation of women in the upper levels of government.
I have personally been inspired and motivated by all the women who have come out to lead in an unprecedented way during this pandemic. These female heroes will be sung for taking the lead on many fronts and for the hours worked and the sacrifices made in their personal lives, while they juggled the needs of the Nation with the responsibilities of their families.
I hope that one enduring change from this era will be the universal acceptance of, and appreciation for, the critical, multifaceted roles our women have played for the past two years in particular. This Nation could not have survived the challenges without their leadership and support.
I am Harold Lovell, and on behalf of the United Progressive Party, I thank all our women and wish them a Happy and Fulfilling International Women’s Day.