It has only been 104 years since women were given the right to vote in Jamaica; 103 for women in the
United States. Such a right was given only if those women owned land and could prove income. It took
45 more years, 1944 before full adult suffrage was granted.
In 1975 the United Nations introduced International Women’s Year and announced March 8th annually as
a celebration of International Women’s Day. These announcements were significant as the intent was to
enhance women and girls’ social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. The statement also
brought awareness of the progress made toward achieving gender equality.
This year the world celebrates International Women’s Day under the theme, DigitALL: Innovation and
technology for gender equality. The thematic framework also hopes to bring awareness to various issues;
risks of unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections including HIV and cervical cancer,
malnutrition, depression, and respiratory diseases, amongst other risks.
The theme is timely as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced upon the global community a quick response
advancements use of technology and information to respond to the global needs of women. With this
significant shift Jamaica, our island home, is encouraged to move to the effective use of information
gathering, scientific approaches, and technology to advance gender equality; to bolster the fight against
crime, especially among females. Technology and information have been used across various countries to
reduce crime effectively. Jamaica must do the same.
Health systems, police departments, educators, and researchers have used effective problem-solving and
research strategies to solve health, crime, and other issues they face in their nations. With the high level
of negative social and gender-based issues, Jamaica has an excellent opportunity to reap the benefits of
investment in technology and information. Intentional interventions will positively impact our country’s
social, economic, and political welfare, especially as it relates to women.
INSPIRE AND MOTIVATE WITH GRACE
Gender equality, governance, and advancement are achievable today only if we are serious about
technological data management, setting achievable goals, and expecting quantifiable outcomes. The
theme mentioned above sets the tone for this necessary shift.
I take this opportunity to extend well wishes to our nation and all Jamaican women and girls across the
world. We salute your outstanding achievements. Continue to inspire and motivate with grace,
perseverance, and boldness.
Happy International Women’s Day.
– Leo Gilling is a Diaspora strategist and engagement advocate and chairman of the Jamaica Diaspora Taskforce Action Network