Tuesday, April 23, 2024

EDITORIAL: In praise of our women leaders


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WITHOUT MUCH FANFARE, Barbados has witnessed the elevation of women to critical leadership positions this past week. It tells of the strides that women continue to make and how the society has matured.

The election of Toni Moore as the new general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and the appointment of Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland as executive director of the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) is not just a case of shattering that mythical “glass ceiling”.

It shows that in Barbados there is equal opportunity for all to reach the top regardless to class, colour or gender. It must all be based on merit.

While we too join in the chorus of praise being showered on these two women, the message must be made clear that they must be allowed to chart their own paths. They can only learn and grow by making their own errors as they continue to build their respective institutions.

They have both succeeded strong individuals, in Sir Roy Trotman at the BWU and George Griffith at the BFPA. Both men were dominant figures who were the face and voice of their respective organisations for an extended period.

It will be difficult to simply erase their style and mannerisms. Understandably, there will always be those who will refer to what these stalwarts did and presume how they would have acted.

Thankfully, neither Sir Roy nor Mr Griffith will support any suggestions that they hang around the organisations now that their tasks have ended. Both know they must move on. Undoubtedly, when asked, they will willingly and quietly give of their experience and knowledge. But, they understand that they must move on.

Ms Moore leads this island’s most important labour organisation at a time when there is significant change in the business environment. She must of necessity respond to these new challenges and ensure the union remains an important platform for all workers, while continuing to be the voice of the dispossessed and those who are ill-treated and overlooked.

The new executive director of the BFPA, Ms Bynoe-Sutherland, also takes the reins at a time of significant change. The association’s financial challenges are real and so too are the demands on it in an environment which speaks to much more than birth control issues. The BFPA must be a family life educator.

Both women are capable of setting their own agendas and surmounting likely challenges, but they need to be supported. Influential women already holding executive positions in our society must mentor them. It is also important that other females desist from that untoward Barbadian habit of “finding fault and tearing down” without just cause.

Congrats to both Ms Moore and Ms Bynoe-Sutherland on their deserved appointments.



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