House Speaker Valerie Woods Commemorates International Women’s Day in House of Representatives

House Speaker Valerie Woods Commemorates International Women’s Day in House of Representatives

Speaker of the House, Valerie Woods opened today’s House Meeting with a personal message on International Women’s Day.  Woods is the fourth woman speaker of Belize’s House of Representatives.  She spoke on the women in leadership and their value to the country.

Valerie Woods, House Speaker: “It is important especially as leaders for us to take time on this day and during this month to reflect not only on the strides Belize has made in improving the gender gap, in working towards gender parity and gender representation but to recommit on efforts to fight discrimination, to combat gender based violence which continues to be sadly an awful scourge in our small society. I don’t need to look very much farther than this chamber to underscore the point that Belize has a lot of work head to meet the goals of inclusion envisioned in this country theme for Women’s Month of Inspiring Inclusion, Count Her In. And when we are placed in the position of leadership as twenty three women in the recent municipal elections approximately 35% of the total seats, or the four women who were elected to the House approximately 13%, it cannot be treated lightly or taken for granted especially when there are many Belizean women current and in our history who have sacrificed, volunteered and continue to fight to be included, represented and heard. Now while there are international reports such as the 2023 Global Gender Gap Index published by the World Economic Forum that suggests it will take a century before gender parity is reached across the globe I prefer to close by expressing my desire for Belize and parliament to work harder and recommit toward improving its own measures for Belize by next year’s International Women’s Day. It is an ongoing struggle, a journey with hills and valleys but we must remain persistent, resilient and determined.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Briceno shared the message from the Special Envoy for the Development of Families and Children, Rossana Briceno.  Here are the highlights of that message.

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Belize like many countries around the world is home to extraordinary women who have made and continue to make significant contributions to our Belizean story. From our early history to the present day women have played pivotal roles in shaping our nation’s culture, traditions, politics, infrastructure and economy. As a nation we must commit to creating a more equitable and just society where all women have the opportunity to contribute fully to the development of Belize. Together let us Inspire Inclusion, Counter Her In and work towards a brighter future for all Belizeans. Madam Speaker I wish I could say these were my words but these are the words of the Special Envoy Rossana Briceño that said “Let’s make Women’s Day everyday. Happy International Women’s Day.”

The theme for this year’s Women’s Day is quote “Inspire Inclusion”

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