March 8 is celebrated globally as International Women’s Day (IWD). Originally organized by the Socialist Party of America, the celebrations first took place in February 1909 and were called International Working Women’s Day. Big Drum Nation is commemorating the occasion by posting women’s reflections on the struggle for equality.
Every year the celebrations embrace a special theme reflecting the urgency of the moment. This year, proceeding from the World Economic Forum’s prediction that the gender gap is unlikely to close entirely until 2186, the theme addresses this unacceptable state of gender inequity as a human rights urgency. Big Drum Nation joins IWD in the campaign to #BeBoldForChange following up on last year’s Pledge for Parity Campaign. It is a quest for women and girls to achieve their ambitions, challenge conscious and unconscious gender bias, push for gender balanced leadership, value women’s equality, encourage inclusive flexible cultures, and for more gender inclusiveness.
We asked Jacqueline Mckenzie what International Women’s Day means to her. Here’s her response:
“On this International Women’s Day we salute and celebrate with the women of Grenada who work towards progress, development and equality. We salute the farmers and agricultural workers; the road workers, cleaners, hotel and house workers; the home makers; the teachers and educators; the nurses and doctors; the engineers, architects, builders and innovators; the activists, campaigners and champions of human rights; the artists, musicians, writers, craft workers and preservers of culture and heritage; the environmentalists; the leaders and public officials who safeguard our people and our land; the wealth creators who respect the rights of workers and the brave trade unionists who won’t bow; the survivors of abuse and domestic violence; the mothers who create, nurture and provide despite…; the young women and girls who hold their heads up high despite…; the women of Grenada who today might cry, smile, sigh, kiss their teeth, struggle, explain, console, believe, love, be fearful, be hopeful; the beautiful Grenadian woman, protector of our nation and guarantor of our future.”
Jacqueline McKenzie is a UK based lawyer specializing in migration, asylum and refugee law. She lectures in migration law and is the founder of the Organization of Migration Advice and Research which works pro bono with refugees and women who have been trafficked to the UK. Jacqueline was born in England of Grenadian and Jamaican parentage and lived in Grenada between 1975 and 1981 attending St Joseph’s Convent and the Institute for Further Education. Jacqueline is passionate about Grenada and is also a founding member of the Grenada Development Network.