News Releases

Official Statement from IGDS on the observance of International Women's Day 2015

For Release Upon Receipt - March 6, 2015

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago – The Institute for Gender and Development (IGDS), The University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine Unit, joins the international community and women of Trinidad and Tobago in celebrating the gains of women for the recognition of International Women’s Day, March 8, 2015.

International Women's Day represents an opportunity for nations, societies, institutions globally to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality. To this end, the United Nations theme for International Women’s Day 2015 is “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!” The 2015 commemoration of International Women’s Day is an important one. This year marks 20 years since the Beijing Conference for Women. This Conference produced the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago that sets the agenda for realizing women’s rights. While there have been many achievements since then, many serious gaps remain. The theme this year continues to place emphasis on the need to focus on women’s empowerment as women. At the same time, it challenges the women’s movement, feminism and those involved in the struggle for gender justice to sharpen the lens of our engagement to emerging challenges that impede the achievement of gender equity and equality.

From the first International Women’s Day in 1911 to today in 2015 advances in areas such as economic empowerment and women’s human rights cannot be overlooked. Despite the lack of consensus on what constitutes sexual and reproductive rights, they have been placed firmly on the agenda along with other rights that are now accepted, the right to vote, to own property, to take leadership positions and to even claim marital rape in some societies. As we celebrate these advances, the politics of our work and activism demands that we use this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to numbers of women and girls still forced to live in the shadow of violence. Women and men now live in a more hurried time filled with insecurities and balancing of multiple responsibilities. The IGDS recognizes the critical need to stimulate attention around work/life balance and ageing, to empower young women as leaders of community and to continue its militant activism around child sexual abuse. All of these are pivotal concerns which affect our quality of life outcomes around gender.

Lastly, although we are celebrating International Women’s Day, we appreciate that femininity does not operate in isolation of masculinity. In light of this, as a teaching, research and outreach organization the IGDS recognizes the burden that is placed on men and masculinity when these terms are increasingly associated with criminality. This area continues to be a significant one in our agenda for research and programming in the area of gender and development.

The IGDS remains committed to this work and we extend a heartfelt Happy International Women’s Day 2015 to all women, as we ensure that our focussed picture of gender equity and equality becomes our lived reality globally.



About the Institute for Gender and Development Studies

The Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) is an autonomous unit located in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor of the University and is not attached to any faculty. This underlines its relevance to all disciplines and facilitates collaboration with all faculties. The IGDS consists of a Regional Co-ordinating Unit (RCU) located on The University of the West Indies’ Mona Campus, and three Campus Units — at Cave Hill, Barbados (Nita Barrow Unit); at Mona, Jamaica (Mona Campus Unit); and at St Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago (St. Augustine Unit). For more, log onto


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:


(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)