“Every Stride Empowers” is the theme for this year’s Scotia Bank Women against breast cancer 5K. Every year thousands of women participate in the run. An event that began with 300 women running to raise funds for breast cancer screening.
Within recent years the event has grown to the point where on September 30, the run is held at three locations–Lowlands in Tobago, Skinner Park, San Fernando and Queens Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
Scotia Bank, a long standing T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) partner, is to be commended for their empowerment approach to women.
Both Scotia Bank and the TTOC share a concern about women and issues that impact women.
Just as the TTOC “Future is Female” project seeks to focus needed attention on empowerment, the 5K is empowerment-focused.
For many positive reasons the issues surrounding women need to be constantly highlighted and championed.
It is against this background that the ongoing occurrence of physical violence against women continues to be of great concern to citizens.
The recent brutal murder of 80 year old, Dr Claire Broadbridge, is another manifestation of not just high crime on the twin Island Republic but an insensitivity towards women.
Speaking outside of their family home, Stephen Broadbridge, son of the deceased urged the people of T&T to take back their country from the hands of criminals. He expressed the view that T&T has become immune and insensitive to murders.
One would hope that we can one day reach the point where a distinguishing feature of modern T&T is an abiding respect for women and girls. Where as a society the protection and empowerment of women and girls is seen as who we are as a nation.
More certainly needs to be done. It is the intention of the TTOC to be an active player in any effort to empower women.
Sport must play a role.
No female, girl or young woman should be deemed to have looked for that. Nor should they be accused of seeking to have an unfair advantage or make a special case.
It’s the mothers, grandmother’s, aunties and sisters who have acted as bulwark and gatekeepers.
Recently, Olympian sprinter Michelle-Lee Ahye expressed concerns about a perceived inequality in the way women athletes are treated as compared to men athletes.
Her concerns are valid and merit discussion. Many women in T&T feel the same way and it’s not only in sport- but they are afraid to express themselves for fear of criticism and opprobrium.
T&T is seriously challenged by difficult economic circumstances. A consequence will be social. Now more than ever it is necessary for important conversations and dialogue to take place.
Violence be it physical, verbal, mental or emotional ought not to be perceived as the first port of call.
T&T is in need of a change in culture, attitude and mindset. There are vested interests and a myriad of obstacles that will be a hindrance to change.
As a country and society, we have to remain indomitable and resilient