Statement by United and Strong on International Women’s Day 2013
Every year International Women’s Day highlights very critical issues that impact on the lives of women around the world. Every year government is called on to commit to national action to address pressing issues related to gender equality and women’s rights. Every year there is absolute, glaring exclusion of lesbian and bisexual women as agendas are set and objectives marked off.
As the theme for International Women’s Day demands action, United and Strong takes the opportunity to call on government to make real change. LB women must be included on the agenda for action as equality for women cannot be achieved without acknowledging the existence of these invisible women and addressing their unique issues.
Failure by government to recognise LB women, to denounce discriminatory practices and harassment, to institute structures for redress, renders these women invisible and fails not only LB women but ALL women.
In her message for International Women’s Day 2013, UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet said “I am outraged because women and girls continue to suffer high levels of discrimination, violence, and exclusion. They are routinely blamed and made to feel shame for the violence committed against them, and they too often search in vain for justice.
My message today is simple and straightforward. This year on International Women’s Day, we say enough is enough. Discrimination and violence against women and girls has no place in the 21st century. It is time for Governments to keep their promises and protect human rights in line with the international conventions and agreements that they signed onto. A promise is a promise.”
United and Strong joins voices with women around the world to say enough is enough. We must make a strong statement that there is no excuse for violence against women and denounce every instance of verbal, psychological, sexual and physical abuse against any woman.
As noted by UN Women at the annual Commission on the Status of Women in March 2013, all these efforts are essential. “Ending violence against women requires multi-pronged strategies including: implementing laws and policy reforms; ensuring women and girls can fully exercise their human rights, including their right to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. It needs changes in attitude and behaviours that endorse violence through community mobilisation and educational programmes. It needs building the capacity of institutions and service providers and the involvement of men and boys in building violence-free communities.”
United and Strong urges the government of Saint Lucia to make the promise to recognize and include lesbian and bisexual women within all mechanisms to end violence against women. The organization further pledges its support to inform and support any undertaking in that regard.
United and Strong is a registered non-governmental organization and the only entity representing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community on Saint Lucia.