Ahead of Wednesday, March 8, which will be celebrated globally as International Women's Day wrapped around the theme #EmbraceEquity, the

Naomi Cowan, singer/songwriter

Naomi Cowan, singer/songwriter.

I think sometimes we get it mixed up, that women want to overpower men. But it's not so much about that, it's actually more about us just getting the respect and recognition for what we do. In other words, if I'm a female lawyer, pay me the same. As a female artiste, pay me the same. If I'm an actress... whatever the case is. As a woman it's just about equality in how we're seen. But there's a place for men and women in life anyways. I do think we balance each other out; I do think male and female energy is important. But equality is just about putting the same respect on my name as you put on yours, and everybody will be happy.

Sharon Millwood Moore, attorney

Sharon Millwood Moore, attorney.

Gender equality is relevant and important in every area of life, whether in the home, classroom, place of worship, other social settings, or workplace. An understanding and appreciation of the concept is important in terms of socialisation and the attitudes towards one another even from early stages of development throughout upbringing. Experience has shown that gender equality is not merely an unattainable state of utopia. It instead exists and has far-reaching benefits for the world, when people recognise unequivocally that each gender brings a valuable perspective to decision-making. True balance therefore requires that all should be fairly represented at the table.

Emprezz Golding, media personality/social entrepreneur

Emprezz Golding, media personality/social entrepreneur.

Gender equality is a hot topic of discussion in many arenas, and it is important to continue exploring ways to promote it effectively. However, we should also consider gender equity, which is needed for true equality. Gender equity means that one gender is not favoured over the other and that both genders have a chance to participate. For example, if women are unable to access the same labour opportunities that men are able to, they are at a distinct disadvantage. Similarly, if men cannot access the same health and welfare benefits as women, they are losing out. Gender equity is needed to ensure both men and women have a fair shot at achieving what they want in life. We need to promote both gender equality and gender equity in order to achieve true parity.

Cleon Roberts, interior designer/director, sunburstproducts.com

Cleon Roberts, interior designer/director, sunburstproducts.comGarfield Robinson

Gender equality needs to be a priority, within issues like the gender pay gap. It is not only about the pay gap; it is about treating each other equally and having equal opportunities based on the personal abilities that you as a person can do.

The fact that men are often taught from birth not to show any emotions or discuss mental health, and that women are generally taught that their only job is to get married and have children, shows how essential it is that gender equality be achieved.

I find it rather disturbing that currently there's a country (I'm being diplomatic) that doesn't allow girls to attend school and women access to education! No matter if you're male or a female your rights should be the same when it comes to education. When a country addresses major areas of gender inequality like education and employment, it fosters peace. In addition, women also have the power to change the world and to share what they feel about something — the Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley is a prime example. She inspires me greatly.

Sarah Warren, regional sales manager, caribbeanjobs.com

Sarah Warren, regional sales manager, caribbeanjobs.com.

Gender equality for me is that all people, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, have equal access to opportunities, resources, and rights. Gender inequality is a form of social injustice because it prevents women and girls from fully participating in society and enjoying the same rights and opportunities as men.

When gender inequality is perpetuated, it can lead to a range of negative consequences, including discrimination, harassment, and violence against women.

Promoting gender equality is therefore an important part of advancing social justice. It involves challenging existing norms, beliefs, and practices that perpetuate gender inequality, and advocating for policies and programmes that support women's empowerment and equal access to opportunities. It is an ongoing process that requires the engagement and commitment of and advocating for policies and programmes that support women's empowerment and equal access to opportunities.

Mekelia Green, attorney-at-law

Mekelia Green, attorney-at-lawAdrian Creary

Gender equality is very important to me and even more so is gender equity because this allows me to feel confident that I will have the same opportunities that are available to men, especially in the workplace.

I am passionate about equal pay and I have advocated, via my social media platforms, for the disclosure of salaries to ensure that everyone — both men and women — are better able to negotiate their wages. It is disheartening to me that when women demand to be paid a sum which is comparable to our male counterparts, we are often labelled as "difficult", while a man who does the same thing is regarded as a "boss man". I believe we can achieve gender equity, starting the reconditioning of our minds and the unlearning of past toxic behaviours that have no place in modern society.

Sharon Roper, director, SIAN Associates

Sharon Roper, director, SIAN Associates.

Despite the tangible achievements made by women in Jamaica, in terms of educational attainment, employment opportunities, and political representation, gender inequality remains a crucial and important topic.

The social construct of the modern family has undergone a significant transformation. However, navigating changing gender roles continues to present a challenge for both men and women. Cultural acceptance and government policies must therefore transform historical legacy systems to effectively support the success of the most vulnerable in society. Promoting gender equality in Jamaica requires addressing root causes, challenging gender norms, increasing access to opportunities, and protecting the rights of all its citizens. Ultimately, gender equality is critical to building a fair and equitable society that enables individuals to reach their full potential and contribute to their country's development.

Tanaania Tracey, content creator

Tanaania Tracey, content creator.

Gender equality is important to me because I think it's integral in ending violence against women and saving lives. We need to protect our girls and we need to encourage our men to see us as their equals. I feel like when they see us as equals they'll be less inclined to hurt us. Also just as women take care of themselves, I believe men should equally do the same, especially when it comes to their mental health and conversations surrounding it.

Grace Kelly, partner, Kelly McKenzie Associates

Grace Kelly, partner, Kelly McKenzie Associates.

Gender equality is both essential and important for a society to grow in the 21st century. Much has been accomplished since the Sixties, but there are still many inequalities. The #MeToo movement has helped to address aspects of this imbalance. As we move forward, we, as a nation, can embrace the full potential of our population and give equal opportunities to all.

Sandra Samuels, CEO/master barber, Totally Male

Sandra Samuels, CEO/master barber, Totally Male.

Gender equality means equal pay for the work that's done. I don't need to be equal to a man, but if I'm doing the same work, I should get the same pay.

Joelle Smith, interior designer

Joelle Smith, managing director, If Walls Could Talk and The Hub Coworking Limited James Mitchell for Kuya Magazine

Gender equality is a very personal topic for someone like me who works within the construction sector, which is a male-dominated field. It is important that women are seen as equally capable to handle roles that society deems as masculine; it is equally important that women are compensated fairly as well as respected for the value and talent they bring. Both genders can contribute to any role that they are equipped to handle and are passionate about, and we should be actively encouraging young women to pursue male-dominated career paths if they have an interest. This is how we effect meaningful change.

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