International Women’s Day: Women’s skills, ideas important — Johnson Smith

This year themes: Think Equal, Build Smart and Innovate for Change and #BalanceforBetter

International Women’s Day: Women’s skills, ideas important — Johnson Smith

Kamina Johnson Smith, Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith, has noted that the themes for this year’s International Women’s Day challenge us to develop transformative thinking and adopt innovative approaches to dismantle persistent barriers to an acknowledgment of women’s equality.

The themes are: Think Equal, Build Smart and Innovate for Change and #BalanceforBetter
In her message, Johnson Smith said the inclusion of women’s skills and ideas are important for finding solutions for issues such as climate change and creating inclusive and sustainable societies.

The minister commended women who have already established themselves as pioneers in the STEM sectors, innovators and business owners and applauded the female entrepreneurs, leaders and personalities who were recently highlighted in the prestigious Forbes magazine for their active involvement in the island’s sustainable and renewable energy movement.

Read the Johnson Smith’s full statement below:

I am pleased to join in the commemoration of International Women’s Day, which each year presents us all with an opportunity to highlight new milestones and achievements that should be celebrated and promoted.

Jamaica, like many other countries, is encouraged by improvements in levels of women’s empowerment and gender equality, but we are conscious that much remains to be done. There are still many hurdles impeding women and girls from ensuring they are not left behind in our pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year’s themes challenge us to develop transformative thinking and adopt innovative approaches to dismantle persistent barriers to an acknowledgment of women’s equality.

To truly make progress internationally, actions must be taken locally to eliminate traditional, stereotypical narratives concerning the role and importance of women. “Thinking equal” is not a call to ignore our differences, but is rather a call for us to acknowledge that both men and women add value to the society, understanding that women’s empowerment is an indicator as well as a pre-condition for a prosperous society.

The failure to promote gender balance poses a grave threat to the achievement of the UN’s 2030 Agenda. The inclusion of women’s skills and ideas are important for finding solutions for issues such as climate change and creating inclusive and sustainable societies.

I am confident in Jamaica’s prospects and commend our women who have already established themselves as pioneers in the STEM sectors, innovators and business owners. I applaud the female entrepreneurs, leaders and personalities who were recently highlighted in the prestigious Forbes magazine for their active involvement in the island’s sustainable and renewable energy movement. You are all a great inspiration and embody this year’s theme which challenges women to innovate for change. I also wish to recognize the unsung heroines of change in sciences, going back in our history.

We are encouraged by the growing interest of our women and girls in entrepreneurship, mobile app building, animation, robotics, among others.

In an increasingly digitized world, we must capitalise on the opportunities that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) present for our women and girls. ICTs are not only drivers of empowerment but can also foster greater inclusion in the labour market and increase access to education for women and girls, especially in developing countries like Jamaica.

On this International Women’s Day, let us highlight the role of innovation and technology in removing barriers and accelerating progress for gender equality and engender a culture that encourages women and girls to think equal, build smart and innovate for change… #balanceforbetter.


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