THE BIRTHING OF CIWiL – BELIZE NATIONAL CHAPTER

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by Senator Elizabeth Bennet

So the email came and I penciled in the date and time for the zoom formation meeting of the Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL) Belize National Chapter! I was super, super excited! Jubilant to say the least! After all I had the pleasure of meeting most of the executive members earlier in February of this year in Bridgetown, Barbados at one of the ParlaAmericas conference on Multi-stakeholder Meeting: Building a coordinated position for Caribbean negotiations on Beijing +25. I most definitely was not going to miss this very important meeting! So I sat ready in my home office ready to participate in what I wholeheartedly believe will be the birthing of indomitable Belizean women in politics. The announcement came like answers to my prayers! But in my excitement, I had scheduled the meeting one week in advance and had to hastily call my regional counterpart to verify the date and time as checking my email would have been way too slow!

For those who don’t know of CIWiL or what it means, I didn’t either until late last year, it means Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL) and it’s a non-political, multi-partisan, and independent NGO. The organization was established to monitor, strengthen and increase women’s political participation and leadership in the region through advocacy, networking, research and capacity building initiatives. The Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL) was conceptualized in 1998 by a collective of women. They were concerned by the continued marginalization of women from positions of leadership and power and understood that women must be fully involved in the decision-making processes that impact their lives – and play a role in the critique, understanding, and practice of leadership in the Caribbean – in order to achieve more just, violence-free and equitable nations.

CIWiL works with activists, female parliamentarians, development professionals, and national gender machineries to train and support women across the region as they seek elected office or assume other positions of leadership. CIWiL aims to create a sustainable, effective, and efficient women’s leadership base, and to achieve gender equality, through advocacy, networking, research and capacity building. The organization also acts as a coordinating and implementing mechanism for a regional programme of work developed and delivered by a network of organizations and individuals, to advance women’s transformational leadership. (https://ciwil.org/board-of-directors/).

This Formation Meeting of CIWiL for the Belize National Chapter, which you cannot afford to miss, will be held next week Tuesday 22nd September 2020 at 3:00pm (Belize Time). Quiet timely too, as the formation meeting will be on our 39th anniversary of our Independence as a sovereign nation. I urge all women from all walks of life, from all sectors of society to log in on zoom, participate and be inspired to take on your rightful roles in all levels of governance in our country. If it’s never before, Belize needs more women in politics because we bring to the table the balance needed for national agendas to be set that will impact all Belizeans. So as we pay our tribute to a great politician the Rt. Honourable Said Musa, and the Father of our Nation before him, it is time that Belize sees more strong women taking on the political mantle and continue to make a difference at the highest level of governance. You can and we must for our country’s sake!

At present Lady A. Anande Trotman-Joseph is the current President of the Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL). She is also a practicing Attorney at Law and a Founding Partner of the Law Firm of Chapman and Trotman, and the Managing Partner of the Law Firm of Joseph & Joseph. She is a former Solicitor General of Grenada and is the Immediate Past President of the Grenada Bar Association. Lady Trotman-Joseph is the current Chairperson of Grenada’s Integrity Commission and is a past Chairperson of the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Associations and Anti-Corruption Bodies (CCAICACB) and continues to serve on its Executive.