International Women's Day luncheon
March 6, 2015
March 6, 2015
This morning, the Isaac Watts hymn comes to mind:
O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come.
Our shelter from the stormy blast and our eternal home
Under the shadow of thy throne, still may we dwell secure;
Sufficient is thine arm alone, and our defense is sure.
Good morning everyone it’s a pleasure to be here in such distinguished company among so many beautiful, powerful and courageous women this is a blessing when women can assemble in an environment where they can learn and share and hopefully leave empowered.
This morning there is a cross section of women represented from every sector of the community, nationalities young women in their teens, housewives, professionals, women who are entrepreneurs; Women in their twilight years, grandmothers and great grandmothers.
The International theme for March 8th 2015 International Women’s Day is ‘Make it Happen’. The theme make it happen is encouraging effective action for advancing and recognizing women. The Turks & Caicos Islands Gender Affairs Unit has coined the theme for this year: ‘Step out, Step up. Let’s make it Happen’. Its encouraging women in the Turks & Caicos Islands to create change by letting their voices be heard. Helping her sisters where they struggle and suffer. For change to happen women’s voices have to be heard. Not just some of the women, but all the women in the Turks & Caicos Islands; in a voice of togetherness, compassion and love.
We can’t make it happen if we don’t pull together, all women with men joining in the conversation, with each of us understanding the issues that the other gender encounters in society. We are made in the image of God, but we are different in a beautiful unique way. We are two halves that make a whole.
To all the women and girls gathered here, to those who are listening and those who will be watching. Welcome also to all the men here and those who are listening. This morning I will admonish you to treat your women with respect and love. We need it. We need you. Women are often described as being strong, resilient and tough emotionally taking on the burdens and cares. But in truth most of us put on a brave face and shoulder more that we must because we have to. And it’s taking a toll on us, emotionally, physically, health wise and mentally. We are not made to be burden bearers, because we have help mates.
Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer for face book was quoted in an article she wrote called, ‘Men Lean In’. She wrote that: ‘Men should support their wives and daughters at home and their female colleagues in the workplace, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s great for men’. And she is right, many people think that women are fighting to overpower men at home and in the workplace, but we just want to realize what it’s like to have equity and equality in the same way men do. Women’s rights are just basic human rights.
Numbers seven and eight of the 10 facts for international women’s day states that: research studies confirm a direct correlation between the gender gap in economic opportunities and economic growth. By contrast, the smaller the nation’s gender gap, the higher its economic productivity.
Women hold down jobs, take care of our families on the second shift, we deal with economic problems, we have to negotiate our reproductive rights, deal with gender based violence, unemployment, health issues and juggle ‘dual parenting roles, when we are single parents, this is our reality as women.
Encouraging women from all walks of life and nationalities in the Turks and Caicos Islands to come together, share engage and join the conversation to inspire, empower and support each other; would create a shift towards improving women’s live.
Men please join us, we love our men, but without you in this struggle, change is an almost foreign concept. I agree with Mrs. Sandberg and you can quote me in saying that: ‘I do believe that to make it happen for women and girls, we have to understand the complexities and the burdens that women have to bear. Especially men’
Women and girls let’s start making it happen, leaving no woman behind. But it starts with having a voice, getting men to join in the conversation, and being heard collectively. Women’s rights are about the freedom to make choices. Ladies this year let’s make it happen!
You are courageous, you are strong. Happy 105th International Women’s Day.
By: Barbara Handfield
'For being good men is much more than simply being a male with a deep voice, but rather it is an acceptance of the responsibilities of manhood' Pastor Pedro Williams
Men are to wear many hats; they are to seek to be positive community members, seeking to play an active role in the social and political development of their country. Asking not what my country can do for me but rather what can I do for my country? There are too many men, both in our nation, across the Caribbean and the world at large, who instead of contributing to the healthy development of society finds themselves as problems of society. Too many of our prisons are congested with strong, young, intelligent, creative men. There are men who have the potential and ability to help enhance our nation, but who choose to find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Who choose that instead of being a part of the solution they will be a part of the problem.
Our communities need men to take up the rightful role and be the men God has called them to be. Be the Fathers God has called them to be, be the community leaders God has called them to be, make the positive influence they have been born to make. Today more than 60 countries worldwide celebrate International Men’s Day since its inception on November 19, 1999. I am grateful for the opportunity to share briefly during this year’s celebration with the gather men and boys. Men are a very important part of society. Like every community would suffer without the presence of women, every community would suffer without the presence of man.
Many communities across the length and breadth of our world are suffering not necessarily because of a lack of men, but rather because of a lack of good men. For being good men is much more than simply being a male with a deep voice, but rather it is an acceptance of the responsibilities of manhood. It is striving to affect my surrounding positively, Endeavoring to leave a lasting legacy for the next generation to follow and allowing God's purpose to come to fruition in my life.
As fathers men play a vital role in the holistic development of their children and families.There are too many men who are only sperm donors and who throw the responsibility of parenting upon others. But if our society is going to be a good one, men must see their Fatherly responsibility, embrace it and do it to the best of their ability.
The task of fathering is one of utmost importance, and many of the ills that now plaque our society such as Teenage pregnancy, juvenile crimes, young boys on drugs, have a lack of present father is one of the contributing factors of these ills. A father’s role and influence in the lives of their son is crucial. For it is firstly in and through this relationship that our sons will know and understand manhood, That our sons will understand who they are and their purpose in society. It is not the states responsibility, not the school’s responsibility but father’s responsibility to teach their sons how to be good and productive male members of society. If I fail to teach my son, my son might not know how to teach his son and so on and the circle continues.
For fathers who themselves have not been fathered by their fathers and find it difficult being that person in their children’s lives, there is help however. There is a proliferation of resources out there that can be sourced to help teach of us how to be the fathers you were made to be. For whether we like it or not, our children are being and will be influence by us. The same way you look at society, treat women, respect the law etc. will influence your child, who might become just like you. The question is; if your sons become like you what kind of person will they be?
Father also plays a pivotal role in their daughter’s life. They show their daughter what a real man is like by modeling true manhood before them. The saying is true, "when ever a young lady wants to get married she goes looking for her father" that is she is attracted to a man who is like her father, for from her perspective that is what a real man is. But if her father was not the model or example of a real man, than what kind of man will she marry?
I realize that when these kinds of function are held for men, in most case the speakers and facilitators finds themselves speaking to the choir. Hence as man we must seek to be our brothers keepers and encourage other men who are not here, with the knowledge and understanding we possess of how they should become better men. For there are men here today who are being good father, good man in society etc. but we must take it a step further and seek to influence other men to do likewise. Other men who might be our brothers, co-workers, social buddies, club members etc. we must help them to see their responsibility in society and commit to it.
There are too many young boys who do not have that responsible Father figure in their lives. How can I help in this regard? Couple with being there for our sons, we can also seek to offer ourselves to mentor a young man, who are going down the wrong track. If we are going to see a change, we must not only be concerned with ours, but concerned with other young man also and sacrifice some time, energy etc. to help. There are many young men today who can testify how their lives were greatly impacted by someone who took the time to mentor them and show the right way. Many who are positive and productive members of society today who are not ashamed to confess that if it was not for the mentor-ship of such and such a person they would not have turned out the way they turned out. Indeed there is a large vacuum when it comes to good men, but we can help my offering ourselves to mentor someone or someone’s.
For indeed many of our young men lives are destroyed by drug use, imprisonment, gang crimes etc. ask yourself what you can do more to help to curb this problem. Our young men needs strong, positive, loving role models to help them charter through their youthful lives. Today you might be a men who don't have any children or have no sons, but a father is more than having children it is fathering them. You can be a father to that young man, and fill the vacuum that his biological father refuses to fill. You can help to make his life better and more meaningful. We are losing too much of our young men.
Every society, to be strong needs strong, intelligent, well educated, productive men who understand their responsibility. This is not to say that "all “society needs to be strong is men. But because we are address men, I speak from the perspective of manhood. But not only must they be strong, education, intelligent etc. but coupled with all of this we need healthy men. As is said, the wealth of a nation is the health of a nation. Men's health is a matter of grave concern, and one that each man must take seriously.
I read an article that says out of 15 leading causes of death, men leads women in all of them except Alzheimer's disease, which the article say many men don't live long enough to develop. Demetrius Porche, editor and chief of the "American Journal of Men's health" says, "Men put their health last". The article further says that, men go to the doctor less than woman and are more likely to have a serious condition when they do go. As long as they're working and feeling productive, most men aren't considering the risk to their health"
1. It is says that the top six threats to men's health are: cardiovascular Disease - the hardening of the Arteries that leads to heart disease and stroke" heart disease is the first leading cause of death worldwide. And men head that list. What can men do about this? They can get their cholesterol check. Control their blood pressure and cholesterol if they're high. Increase their physical activities level per day (exercise). Eat more fruits and vegetables and less saturated or trans fat.
2. Lung Cancer - this is particular for men who smoke. Lung cancer is a terrible disease. This one can be easily prevented, if you smoke, STOP. your health is at risk.
3. Prostate Cancer, a leading cancer in men: this is one health problem that men can lay full Claim to, since women don't have prostates. Men should be informed about prostate and make wise decision. Fear of getting test can be the difference between life and death.
4. Depression and Suicide: brain chemicals and stress hormones are out of balance. Sleep, appetite, energy level are disturbed. Owing to depression it is said that more women attempt suicide than men, but more men are successful at their attempt than woman.
5. Diabetes: the silent health threat to men. Diabetes usually begins silently, without symptoms. Over years, blood sugar levels creep higher, eventually spilling into the urine. The resulting frequent urination and thirst are what finally brings many men to the doctor. It is said that boys born in the 2000's have an alarming, one in three chances in developing diabetes in their life time. Again men should check their doctors regularly to be informed on these issues and their health in relation to them.
Erectile Dysfunction: This disease may not be life threatening, but signals an important health issue all the same. Two thirds of men older than 70 and up to 39%of 40 years old men have problems with erectile Dysfunction. This condition is caused by atherosclerosis- the same process that causes heart attacks and strokes. In fact doctors consider erectile dysfunctional and early warning sign for Cardiovascular disease.
As men we must take our health into consideration and take the necessary step to ensure that we live healthy lives by: Visiting the doctor regularly for checkups, Eating healthy, Exercising
As young men/boy you must commit to becoming a productive, member of society. That you will become an individual who will make a positive contribution in this nation or wherever you find yourself. That decision is yours, it is a decision you must make today and work towards it. By studying heard, avoiding bad company and influences. Keep your head up and live a life of character; a life of integrity, honesty and responsibility. Stay away from crimes and ills that will tarnish your credibility and martyr your future success.
Most of all each of us must understand that we are most importantly spiritual beings and must endeavor to, as we keep our minds, body etc. healthy. We must ensure that we possess healthy souls. All Men must understand his responsibility to God. His responsibility to love God, serve God, live for God and allow God’s will to transport in and through his life.
(Resource cited in preparation: http://www.webmd.com/men/features/6-top-health-threats-men)
By Pedro Williams