Women in Barbados will take the spotlight during a week-long celebration now being planned to observe International Women’s Day on March 8.

The theme is “Our Women – Our Nation” and the Bureau of Gender Affairs and some of its partners will be hosting a number of events which members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Activities will begin on Friday, March 6, with a pictorial display on the Chamberlain Bridge, the City, starting at 10:30 a.m. Pictures of over 200 Barbadian women who have each made a significant contribution to nation-building in various spheres, including agriculture, education and politics, will be mounted.

A month-long exhibition which will also feature prominent Barbadian women and highlight their role in the island’s development will be unveiled at the National Library Service, Independence Square. It will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.

There will also be a “Girls Talk” workshop for 30 4th and 5th form students from five of the island’s secondary schools at the PomMarine Hotel. It is sponsored by the National Task Force on Crime Prevention. The Gender Equality Committee of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) will mount a Clothes Line Project at Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St. Michael, which will run until Sunday, March 8, starting at 9:00 a.m. daily.

During the evening, from 6:00 to 8:00, a rally will be held in Independence Square, where women’s rights activists Maizie Barker-Welch and Marva Alleyne will be honoured. Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, will deliver the feature address, while Chairman of the National Advisory Council on Gender, Joan Cuffie; Executive Director of the Barbados Family Planning Association, George Griffith; President of the National Organisation of Women, Yvonne Walkes; and resident representative of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, Roberta Clarke, will give remarks.

There will be dramatic pieces focusing on domestic violence and HIV issues presented by Jerad Alleyne, whose piece is entiled “Enough is Enough”, Yolanda Holder with “Guard Yuh Virginity”, Hazel Charles with “Hats” while Yvonne Weekes will perform a “Tribute to Fat Women”.

Entertainment will be provided by John King and Natalie Burke, among others, while Dancin’ Africa will also perform.

Eleven outstanding women will be rewarded when the Third Triennial Awards to Women in the Community is held on Saturday, March 7, at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus, starting at 7:30 p.m. It will be hosted by the Community Development Department and the Institute of Gender and Development Studies, UWI.

A service for International Women’s Day will be held at New Dimensions Ministries, at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, on Sunday, March 8, from 9:30 a.m. It will be hosted by the Bureau and the National Organisation of Women and all in attendance are urged to wear something purple.

Later in the evening, at 4:00, the National Cultural Foundation will stage a women’s reading at George Washington House, the Garrison, St. Michael, while at 4:30 p.m., the Gender Equality Committee of the BWU will host a panel discussion on “Violence Against Women” at Solidarity House. The panellists will look at the various types of violence in the home and workplace.

At 6:00 p.m., there will be a service of recognition of outstanding Wesleyan women at the White Park Tabernacle, St. Michael.

A one-week workshop starting Monday, March 9, will be held at the Valley Resource Centre, St. George, under the theme “Job Skills and HIV/AIDS Awareness”. It is being sponsored by the Office of the Advisor on Poverty Eradication and the Millennium Development Goals.

The activities will climax with the setting up of two health booths, “Images of public health then and now” on Tuesday, March 10, at Big B Supermarket, and Friday, March 13, at Super Centre, Warrens, from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Public health nurses will be on hand to discuss health issues, including cervical and prostate cancer and the pneumococcal vaccine.

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