International Women’s Forum Barbados, speaks on the need for gender balance on International Women’s Day 2019

The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 March 8th is “Better for Balance” and in speaking about what this means in the Barbados context, founding President of International Women’s Forum (Barbados), Brenda Pope outlined the local chapter’s broad areas of focus in 2019, “Better the gender balance and better Barbados.”

She said, “Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. From a gender-balanced boardroom to a gender-balanced government, in wealth and technology, in media and sports coverage. Bringing this balance will liberate both our male and female children, to ensure the economy can prosper and enhance well-being across our Barbadian communities.”

Brenda Pope expanded on IWF Barbados’ three areas of initial focus. “Bridging a path and bringing balance for women in non-traditional areas of expertise/work” – to combat the growing gender digital divide and women’s under-representation in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and renewable energy and to ensure that women’s ideas and experiences influence the design and implementation of the innovations shaping our future society.

Bridging a path and providing balance for women striving for financial independence” – to provide basic resources, stability and guidance for more vulnerable women as a foundation for their long-term self-sufficiency.

Building a bridge and balancing access for women toward senior executive positions, including directorships and chairmanships” – to generate the statistically significant bottom-line and company performance benefits global research has shown arises from board gender diversity.

The founding IWF Barbados President, reiterated that IWF Barbados will work collaboratively and in a complementary fashion to existing women’s organisations in Barbados. “IWF Barbados members are committed to leadership now and to cultivating women to lead us tomorrow. They are especially committed to effecting change and influence on specific gender issues in the forefront of our Barbadian society” said Pope.

She called on everyone to use international Women’s Day as an opportunity to focus on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women to support balance, diversity and women’s leadership in all fields, disciplines and professions.

IWF is an invitation-only, membership organization comprised of more than 7,000 diverse and accomplished women from 33 nations on six continents. Members include Fortune 500 executives, government leaders from the local to sovereign level, international non-profit leaders, and luminaries from the academy, arts, and sciences. Its members are trailblazers, innovators, and pioneers united to advance women’s leadership globally and locally.

The IWF Barbados forum was started in October 2018 and is made up of 32 women leaders resident in Barbados from diverse backgrounds, industries, nationalities and experiences. Membership is closed for 2019 but the local chapter will be seeking to invite women leaders to join IWF Barbados in 2020.

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