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WLI conference to discuss burning issues, celebrate IWD

Sunday, February 28, 2016

BALANCING a family and a career, establishing a work environment where gender is a non-issue, and remaining authentic while achieving success are among the issues the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) will be leading discussion on at its one-day conference titled ‘Pledge for parity: Speak it into being’.

The conference is being hosted on March 7, the eve of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2016, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

Billed as "a conference for aspirational women", there will be three main presentations, including a youth panel titled ‘Respect earned, respect given’, with male and female upper high school and tertiary institution students discussing the breakdown in respect between the sexes and how this might be remedied.

The conference will feature three distinguished presenters. Professor Donia Scott, professor of computational linguistics, University of Sussex, UK, will address the topic ‘Breaking the glass ceiling: What will it take to establish a work environment where gender is a non issue?’ Kwayera Archer Cunningham, president of ASE Consulting and a Woman of Distinction awardee, USA, will speak to ‘The working woman: Is achieving balance between family and career attainable?’ Mariame McIntosh-Robinson, Rhodes scholar, president and CEO – First Global Bank, and founder of Teach Caribbean, will share her views around the topic, ‘I’m wearing a dress: How to succeed and remain authentic’.

An upbeat chairman of the WLI, Eva Lewis, said that the WLI conference is designed to celebrate the achievements of women despite the obstacles and challenges, and seriously discuss some of the issues of women at the workplace with a view to sharing experiences and solutions.

She said that while the event is on the eve of IWD, the conference would welcome the participation of males, "as clearly changes in perspective, roles and attitudes must occur in both men and women if parity on any level is to be achieved.

"The International Women’s Day Campaign theme, ‘Pledge for Parity’, calls for everyone to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly, whether by helping women and girls to achieve their ambitions, calling for gender-balanced leadership, respecting and valuing differences, developing more inclusive and flexible cultures, or working to root out workplace bias," she said.

"Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence to proactively accelerate gender equality."