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Push for gender parity

Monday, March 12, 2018
AMCHAM boss wants women empowered
President of AMCHAM T&T, Mitchell De Silva, speaks with Software Engineering staffing manager at Google, Shelly Clifford Brophy, left, as vice president Corporate Operations, BP T&T Giselle Thompson looks on during AMCHAM’s Women’s Leadership Conference at Hyatt Regency, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, on Friday. PICTURE ABRAHAM DIAZ

Is the business community doing enough to speak out against sexual harassment in the workplace? Are the necessary steps being taken to ensure that organisations are safe and comfortable for all genders?

These were the questions which were brought to the fore by president of Amcham T&T, Mitchell De Silva, during the Women’s Leadership Conference Agenda, themed #PressforProgress, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain, on Friday.

De Silva also questioned whether enough was being done to address violence against women, adding that some women feel safer at work than they do in their own homes.

“Their job is not only a source of financial independence but provides a temporary reprieve from the violence they face. What do we do when bruises turn into sick days and eventually reduced work performance?” De Silva asked at the end of a week in which they were several events marking International Women’s Day.

“Do we stick to our KPIs and the numbers that influence of company’s profit and loss? Or do we begin to re-evaluate the value we place on the lives, mental health and overall well-being of our workers?”

He also questioned whether the collective conscious of business was ready to ask the “hard questions” and take the necessary steps to press for progress.

“While I do not purport to have all of the answers, I do believe this is why this conference and others like it are so important. My hope is that this event not only empowers us, but emboldens us to create a new level of expectancy and accountability of ourselves and our leaders,” he said.

“I believe that in the same way I am my brother’s keeper, I am also my sister’s keeper, my mother’s keeper, my neighbour’s keeper and even my employee’s keeper. We must continue to come together, to support each other.”

Unfortunately, he said the celebration of the event, which was in its fifth year, was bittersweet, as the The World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report has highlighted it will take 213 years to achieve gender parity.

“If this remains true, then women today, their daughters and possibly granddaughters, will not have the opportunity to live in a world where true gender parity exists,” De Silva said.

He said as a leading business chamber in T&T, AMCHAM T&T firmly believes it must take the lead in discussing the power of women in business and the importance of gender parity in society.

“We believe that gender parity is an important achievement that has a major impact on how and whether economies and societies advance. Successfully engaging about half of the world’s talent pool, and harnessing their contributions will have a huge impact on the growth, competitiveness and economic transformation,” De Silva added.


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