Close to 50 Barbadians will soon get an opportunity to develop their gender sensitivity skills in an effort to enhance their leadership and decision-making roles.

As part of its commemoration of the Day of Women of the Americas this Friday, February 18, the Bureau of Gender Affairs will be hosting a workshop at Almond Bay, Hastings, Christ Church, to raise awareness of gender issues that impact on leadership and decision-making.?? It will get under way at 9:00 a.m.

Vice President of the Inter-American Commission on Women (CIM), Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, will deliver the feature address.

During the seminar, there will be a panel discussion entitled The Public vs the Private: the Dynamics of Merging Family Life and Public Life. Panellists will include Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo; Member of Parliament for St. Thomas, Cynthia Forde; Government’s Advisor on Poverty Eradication and the Millennium Development Goals, Undene Whittaker; Director of the Urban Development Commission, Derek Alleyne and President of the Barbados Small Business Association, Celeste Foster.

Lecturer at the University of the West Indies’ Institute for Gender and Development Studies, Dr. Halimah DeShong, will speak on Understanding the construction of Masculinity and Femininity within our Social System; while Executive Coordinator of the Caribbean Policy Development Centre, Cecilia Babb, will examine How Gender Construction Impacts on Leadership Positions. There will also be a motivational session on coping with stress to be conducted by the Senior Health Sister from at the Black Rock Polyclinic, Anne Murrell.????

Director of the Bureau, Patricia Hackett-Codrington, underscored the importance of the seminar. She said: "We believe that because of the adversarial and gendered nature of leadership, as well as the social construction of roles, women who want to participate at this level, are discouraged. In addition, many lack the skills and need to be motivated to offer themselves at the top leadership and managerial levels."??

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