EOC: Women can excel on merit

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

PRESIDENT-ELECT: Former senate president Christine Kangaloo who was elected by the Electoral College to serve as the seventh President of TT at the Red House. –

THE Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) has said women in Trinidad and Tobago have been able to make great achievements based on merit.

The commission expressed this view in a statement on Tuesday to commemorate International Women’s Day.

Referring to its mandate under the Equal Opportunity Act to protect human rights, the commission said it takes a proactive approach in educating the public and raising awareness of sex equity and people’s rights according to the act.

One such initiative was a television series last year on TTT which dealt with the topic “sex and prejudice.”

The commission said it welcomed a Court of Appeal decision last year which clarified that sexual harassment is a form of sex-based discrimination and that sexual harassment is part of the remit of the Equal Opportunity Act.

The commission added this is important because it shows what actions against women will not be tolerated and enables them to progress in their respective spheres of endeavour on the basis of merit.

“It has been just over a century that women were allowed the right to obtain a university degree or the right to sit in Parliament. Since then, the nation and the Caribbean have produced impactful and brilliant female scholars who have all made significant contributions in their respective fields.”

The commission highlighted the appointment of Prof Rose Marie Belle Antoine as the first female pro vice-chancellor and principal of the St Augustine Campus of UWI as an example of women in TT achieving milestones based on merit.

The commission also highlighted the imminent appointment of former Senate president Christine Kangaloo as TT’s second successive female president on March 20 and the election of Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar as TT’s first female prime minister on May 24, 2010, as other examples of women making great achievements based on merit.