Caribbean unions empower women as leaders
The Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) has held a series of virtual leadership training workshops for women within the organisation. The theme of this series, that could happen thanks to the financial support of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (EFTO), member of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), was: “Empowering Women as Leaders”.
The CUT is consistently seeking to build capacity through leadership training and professional development, including for women to prepare them to assume leadership roles. The Status of Women’s Committee (SoWC), an entity of the CUT, is also committed to the continuous development and advancement of women and believes it is imperative that women become more active and powerful partners in the social debates in their respective territories.
First ever virtual series on women's leadership
“It is against this background that, while COVID 19 disrupted our lives and changed how we interact socially, the CUT SoWC saw it as crucial to organise the first ever virtual series of workshops and embrace the new landscape for interaction,” explained CUT SoWC Chairperson Tessa Mc Quilkin.
Through these virtual workshops, facilitated by experts and held over 4 days, the Committee aimed to provide women leaders and women keen to become leaders within the CUT with opportunities to gain skills and competencies necessary to be effective in their role. Around 90 women from over twenty countries and territories participated in the workshops. CUT women officers and members of the CUT Public Relations Committee were also present.
The themes of these workshops were:
- Empowering women as leaders
- Leadership during a crisis
- Managing finances during a crisis
- Transformational and inclusive leadership
- Women embracing technology in education
- Self-care and wellness during a crisis
Educators and their unions’ role in building a society free of violence and discrimination
For CUT Programme Officer, Julian Monrose, it is important for CUT to provide training for women, as “the evidence within the Caribbean region indicates that, while progress has been made in creating awareness and managing issues of gender bias, gender barriers and gender discrimination, there is still considerable work to be done to create a society of gender equity and non-violence.”
He also condemned the fact that “within the context of an escalation of all forms of violence, gender violence persists”.
“The CUT SoWC is extremely grateful to EFTO and CUT for making this a reality.”, Mc Quilkin stressed. “This can go down in the history books of the CUT as a successful undertaking amidst the challenges due to the pandemic. We are certain that with the training received, we will see more women coming to the front to lead in various capacities.” she stressed.
Programmes promoting gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women are “particularly vital” during the COVID-19 crisis
For the Director of CTF International and Social Justice Programme, Dan Martin, currently, with the COVID-19 pandemic, programmes promoting gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women are “particularly vital” and more women must have access to pre-service and in-service teacher training programmes.
“Experienced women teachers must see and be able to take advantage of opportunities for career advancement, including those that lead to leadership positions within their schools, their districts, and their unions,” Martin said.
TTUTA: Successful workshop held by the national Committee on the Status of Women
Women education unionists who participated in the CUT workshops organised themselves workshops to increase the number of women reached by these types of knowledge-sharing activities in the Caribbean – in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Trinidad and Tobago.
For example, the Chairperson of Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers' Association Committee on the Status of Women (CSW), Indra Ramsingh-Geoffroy, reported that TTUTA held a virtual workshop for 76 members on 28 November 2020, “to adapt and create a new environment that will be healthy for themselves, their families and their students”.
Issues tackled included:
- A practical approach to managing personal finances.
- Self-Care and wellness during a crisis.
- My vision for me - 2020 and beyond.
This activity highly contributed to increase the Committee’s potential for delivering workshops and the response for this workshop was so overwhelming that the CSW had to stop accepting registrations at a certain point, Ramsingh-Geoffroy noted.