MESSAGE BY HONOURABLE MARLON PENN
MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
IN OBSERVANCE OF
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
8 MARCH 2023
Today, on International Women's Day, we honour the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. It is a day set aside to celebrate the strides made towards gender equality, while also recognizing the obstacles we still face.
As Minister responsible for Gender Affairs, I am committed to working towards creating a Virgin Islands where women and girls are free from discrimination, violence, and injustice. A place where there is zero tolerance for gender-based violence, and everywhere is a safe space for women and girls. The Virgin Islands must be a place where women are afforded equal opportunity to thrive and can participate fully in shaping our Territory’s future.
This year we celebrate International Women's Day under the theme DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for gender Equality. It recognizes and celebrates women and girls who are championing transformative technology and digital education. It highlights the significance of safeguarding the rights of women and girls in digital environments and tackling online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence. It also examines the effects of the digital divide and expanding economic and social disparities. While innovation and technology have the potential to create a more inclusive and equitable society, we must ensure that technology is developed and used in ways that promote gender equality.
Here in the Virgin Islands, the Government recognizes the importance of Information and Communications Technology in building a high quality and resilient society. Digital transformation is embraced throughout our public sector, private sector and civil society.
This thrust is reflected in our National Sustainable Development Plan, which highlights Education and Learning as a key goal and seeks to facilitate empowerment through innovative, creative and vibrant learning environments. This can be achieved by developing the capacity to adopt cutting-edge technologies that help spur economic growth, and deliver greater social and environmental benefits. As such, this goal promotes the deepening of the application of science and technology to benefit all aspects of society.
The digital transformation of the Virgin Islands must not leave women and girls behind. It should instead be used as a tool to bridge the gender gap and the digital divide, and ensure inclusive development.
On this International Women’s Day we recognize and honour the tremendous contributions of all women, and shine a spotlight on the incredible women in the Information Technology field. We celebrate those who blazed the trail, the important work you continue to do, and the girls who will be inspired by your example and leadership.
I encourage and support the presence of more women and girls in STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) and in information and communications technology (ICT) careers.
Let us recommit ourselves to the goal of gender equality in all fields of education, in technology, and in every aspect of society; and work together to create a world where all women can break barriers, achieve success, and thrive.
Happy International Women’s Day!