Today, 8th March is International Women’s Day. The United Nations first commemorated International Women’s Day forty-five years ago in 1977. The day is now globally marked by governments, NGOs and private entities. The celebration of the day has played a hugely important role in recognising and profiling women’s achievements as well as becoming a central rallying point to garner and build support for women’s rights.
International Women’s Day has been marked by the Ministry of Equality since 2012 in a number of ways. It has been an opportunity to celebrate local women’s successes and to raise issues of concerns affecting women such as the under-representation of women in key arenas such as the political, economic and technological.
Since the Ministry of Equality was set up by this Government, the priority of our work is in developing equality legislation and policies. Great emphasis has been added in developing opportunities for women to progress in the workplace including the establishment of the ongoing Women’s Mentorship Programme, training on unconscious bias in the work place and the Gender Pay Gap survey.
Additionally, substantial work has been undertaken on legislative reform on domestic abuse. Very importantly, there has been a huge investment by Government training stakeholders such as the Care Agency, Royal Gibraltar Police and the GHA on domestic abuse. Unfortunately, a lot of the policy work that was undertaken prior to the pandemic had to regrettably be put on hold.
Addressing the under-representation of women in technology is one of the main strands of the Ministry of Equality’s Gender Equality Strategy and significant strides have been made in recent years through, for example, the Ministry’s collaboration with Girls in Tech and awareness events.
Today Minister Sacramento has presented Thea Ramirez McNeice, a student at the Digital Skills Academy with a trophy for the ‘Best Female Academy Attendee.’ Thea, who is just six years old, has used the coding and programming skills learned at the Academy to create a number of technological devices such an autonomous driving robot.
Minister for Equality, the Hon. Samantha Sacramento, MP, said, “Today is International Women’s Day and I am delighted to have marked the day by presenting Thea with her award. I am impressed with the range of technological skills that she has developed at the Digital Skills Academy, not least because of her young age. The world is changing ever-more rapidly and the importance of Technology cannot be over-stated. Therefore, it is crucial, that for the benefit of all and for the betterment of our local and the global communities that we encourage girls and women to consider technology as a viable and rewarding career prospect.
“This year’s UN theme, ‘Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’ is a timely reminder that our future and that of the planet’s is intrinsically linked to a number of key issues: equality, technology and sustainability. We must note the great work undertaken for the Government of Gibraltar by Chief Scientist Dr Liesl Mesilio and now that the Government’s climate change committee is chaired by Angelique Linares.
“Whilst this year the Ministry of Equality has not marked International Women’s Day with an event a significant amount of work has been undertaken on progressive policies to address issues which predominantly affect women. Unfortunately, a lot of our work has been put on hold as resources have been prioritized, but I am eager to restart work on this. I am also very pleased to see that different organisations are taking the onus to organize their own International Women’s Day events. This ensures that important conversations are happening across the community and more significantly beyond the 8th March.”