Barbadian women can be proud of how much they have achieved in the past decade, but there is still more work to be done.

This is the belief of Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, who was speaking in her capacity as the Principal Delegate to the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), at a panel discussion held to celebrate the Day of Women of Americas on Thursday at The St. Michael School.

Mrs. Sandiford-Garner stated that she believed that women in Barbados have made significant strides over the past years because they were not afraid to advocate for the social, political and economic development of women, so as to ensure gender-based equality.

She lauded the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development and the Bureau of Gender Affairs for their continued efforts in the social and economic development of women.

???The Bureau has been able, with the help of the NGO community, to close the gender gap in some areas. As a country, we have made significant strides in the area of education where there is a large number of women enrolled at the tertiary institutions. In terms of employment, the participation rate of women has increased over the years, and we have achieved marginal success in the area of women???s political decision-making,??? she noted.

However, Senator Sandiford-Garner said despite the achievements made, discrimination against women was still witnessed in Barbados and throughout the region.??

???A number of violations of women???s human rights that require us to be vigilant include issues such as violence against women, human trafficking, HIV and AIDS and poverty??? The CIM has placed great emphasis on eradicating these issues that are of concern to our Barbadian government and are at the forefront of the Bureau???s work???

???In this era where both men and women are being called upon to make a shift in their lives as a result of the impact of changing global economies, there is a need for an ideological shift in the thinking of men and women if we are to continue women???s advancement,??? she stressed.

The Senator added that panel discussions such as that one provided an environment for women to come together to discuss issues of gender and intimate partner relationships, among other things, without fear of embarrassment. She especially encouraged younger women to attend, as she believed that many similar panel discussions were currently being attended by women over 35.

???Tonight???s theme: Working Together to Build a Better Future, suggests that we must operate as one, leaving no woman behind. The struggle must continue until we reach true equality,??? she affirmed.

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