PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – At the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 59) in New York, on March 10, Minister Plenipotentiary, Hon. Josianne Fleming – Artsen read a statement outlining the position of women on Sint Maarten at a briefing with the Kingdom of the Netherlands delegation members and non-governmental organizations.
The delegation members and representatives of various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are in New York attending the Commission on the Status of Women themed Beijing+20.
The statement which was approved by Sint Maarten’s Minister Bourne – Gumbs, stated that while much has already been done for women on Sint Maarten, there is still more work to be done.
“We know that when women are poor, it affects not just them, but their families and society on a whole. In light of this, more focus must be given to elevating women from poverty and providing them with tools to make their lives better.
“Entrepreneurship is one way in which we can invest in our female population. By stimulating their interests in business and then providing them with the structural support to engage with those pursuits we can create opportunities not just for them and their children, but also for persons in their wider communities,” the statement said.
Minister Bourne – Gumbs statement also spoke to a subject which was highly debated during several CSW 59 sessions thus far; that of the role of men and boys in women and gender development.
“Compulsory education ensures that our girl children receive education on equal footing with our boy children. Trends indicate that girls outperform boys throughout elementary school, secondary school and tertiary education and while we must complement our educational system for the success of our girl children, we must also examine the causes for male underperformance, dropouts and failures. It is not our aim that girls and women run ahead of males, but that we create a society where there is balance and equality.
“Sint Maarten remains committed to examining the ways gender development must address the gaps in raising successful and engaged boys and men. There is a need for men and boys to participate in gender and women’s development, because in the end we still want both groups to live, work and develop side by side, so that we can have a better Sint Maarten for all,” Minister Fleming – Artsen read.
It also reflected on the unique position that the islands of the Dutch Caribbean find themselves in; parts of both the Kingdom and the region, which brings distinctive experiences both ways.
The Minister’s statement noted that more dialogue and sharing of best practices much take place between Sint Maarten and the other partners in the Kingdom and also between Sint Maarten and other Caribbean countries.
“Sint Maarten also supports further and future networking with Kingdom and Caribbean partners to determine best practices and ways forward for women and gender development. The Kingdom of the Netherlands has long been a forerunner on women and gender development and there is much that we can learn from them.
“The Caribbean is a unique region with many similarities and many islands share connections with Sint Maarten as it pertains to challenges concerning women’s and gender development. Regionally, we must work together to chart paths forward for the successes of our female population,” Fleming – Artsen said.
The statement concluded by noting that Sint Maarten will continue to actively pursue gender equality and women empowerment in ways which would impact both the individual and the collective.
“The theme for International Women’s Day 2015 is Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It! On Sint Maarten we can not only picture it, but we are working continuously towards it, because we know that to empower a woman is to empower a family and to empower a family is to empower a community and to empower a community is to empower a society and to empower a society is to empower us all.
“That is our ambition