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Still a hard climb for women | Columnist

AS we gear for International Women’s Day activities we must acknowledge that it is simply not true that, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” To be clear, we feminists are not demanding that we rule the world, but rather that girls and women have the same opportunities offered to boys and men.

In too many states women are still regarded as second-class citizens and experience horrific treatment. Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by Taliban extremists in the Swat Valley of Pakistan when she was only 15 years old because she was an active advocate, like her schoolteacher father, of education for girls. Miraculously, she recovered and continues her activism.

The website has shocking statistics: “…[T]he abuser is usually someone the woman knows: 38 per cent of all murdered women are killed by their partner. Of all women killed globally in 2012, it is estimated that almost half were killed by a partner or relative compared to less than six per cent of men. (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2014)

“… Around one in 10 (120 million) girls worldwide have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives. (UNICEF, 2014). At least 200 million girls and women alive today living in 30 countries have undergone female genital mutilation. (UNICEF, 2016)

“…A European Union survey showed that 34 per cent of women with a health problem or disability had experienced violence by a partner in their lifetime, compared to 19 per cent of women without a health problem or disability. (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2014)”

Here, in Jamaica, we continue to be horrified by incidents of domestic violence in which women and children suffer the most. Women and girls are constantly harassed on our streets, and we seem to have strange priorities — dwelling on a harmless competition among young law students when there are so many crises demanding attention.

We applaud Karen Madden’s post: “To whom it may concern: Stop perpetuating this asinine notion that it’s what women wear that gets them raped and/or harassed. Now go forth & be great!”

Dr Denise Chevannes-Vogel, national private sector specialist, Jamaica Win-Win Programme; and Desreé Ebanks, programme associate in the UN Women Caribbean Multi-Country Office, have enlisted women business owners to support the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP). In agreement with their mantra that “gender equality means good business”, we have signed the statement of support. This emphasises equality, not dominance, with pledges that include “encouraging economic and social conditions that provide opportunities for women and men, girls and boys; and fostering sustainable development in the countries in which we operate”.

Farewell, Tony Becca

Tony Becca was more than a sports writer, he was a prince of prose. What a privilege it was to start my media journey at the Jamaica Daily News sitting at the feet of such stars as Tony Becca, who would hold forth on events and personalities with keen insight.

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Becca lived a life of milestones, being only one of three journalists to have covered 150 Test matches, a former president of Melbourne Cricket Club who restored its glory, former president of the Sportswriters Association of Jamaica, inductee in the Cricket Hall of Fame of Connecticut, and author of three books on cricket—A Touch of Class, Souvenirs: Reservoir of Memories and Cricket—Lovely Cricketers: The Best of My Time. My brother Tony reminded me that Becca also wrote masterfully on golf.

How comforting that just a few weeks before his passing he was able to savour the victory of his beloved ‘Windies’. He wrote on February 9 in his Gleaner column: “If the saying that success is a time for happiness is true, then success after success, especially after long periods of drought, is a time for total happiness. In fact, it is a time for the sort of happiness that borders on euphoria.

“After winning two Test matches against England, the number three-ranked cricket team, the eighth-ranked West Indies, are now on cloud nine and really enjoying the moment.”

We give thanks for the life of the great Tony Becca and offer our deep sympathy to his beloved wife, Cecilia, and other members of his family. Rest in peace, my friend.

— Jamaica Observer

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