March is the month that the world has set aside to reflect back on the achievements of women in history; and to celebrate their accomplishments even in these “extraordinary times”. It is also the month when Department of Sports place even more emphasis, on the efforts of women in our islands. The idea is to not only recognize women and girls for their accomplishments; but to also highlight the advancements they have made, and continue to make; also to provide and support initiatives to increase more participation in sports and exercise activities.
We know that in these unprecedented COVID times many experience enormous pressure, unease and insecurity. Some are coping more ably than others, and that in no way belittle anyone who might be struggling more than some. In the coming weeks we will share a snippet with the wider community of seven young female athletes’ evolution in track & swimming abroad. Sharing growth that speaks especially to them very ably navigating somewhat, “normally” in what is clearly, a not so “normal time”; and we hope that it will motivate many.
Many agree that International Women's Day is not country, group or organization specific. It is a day that belongs to ALL groups, collectively everywhere. This year’s theme worldwide is #ChooseToChallenge. Our Lacee Barnes; Aijah Lewis; Danneika Lynn; Shalysa Wray; Jaden Francis; Sarah Jackson and Alison Jackson, have noticeably demonstrated their resilience; and have all stepped up and #ChooseToChallenge, by continuing to perform and further shape the pathway for women and girls to aspire to.
My Director of Sports Kurt Hyde lends his wholehearted support to our ventures and had this to say… “As Director of Sports, I am honored to support initiatives aimed at celebrating our women for Women’s Month 2021. This year, we are highlighting young women who are achieving great things within their respective sport. This is quite fitting as it is the younger generation that will have to take the baton and continue the journey for women’s equality and lead the fight against discrimination”.
“As a man, I choose to challenge the greater society to do their part in creating a world where our daughters will be afforded the same opportunities as men. Thus, becoming anything they choose to become and be the best at. This is exactly what these seven young women are in stride to accomplish”.
That being said we wish to publicly thank not just these seven young athletes but all women and girls ‘for: The myriad ways in which they each in their unique roles have committed to, and consistently contributed to the further development of sports in our islands to date, and we hope for years to come.
To further endorse these seven athletes’ accomplishments, they will be presented with #ChooseToChallenge Certificates in recognition of their perseverance; and dedication to their sport, during this Pandemic Time. Their fearless efforts speak to why, it is so important that sports must continue as it lends a sense of normalcy.
The role these track and swim athletes; other athletes; administrators; officials and coaches from various sports not named play, further underpin the resilient of women and girls that many might take for granted; and more so, in a period where there are immeasurable challenges just to go about ones normal day. It substantiates that women and girls should continue to receive support; and that the support and opportunities must remain equal at least and beyond as necessary for all, so that they can accomplish even more; this is sure to affect others to the same point.
To conclude, as Sports Coordinator for Women, I encourage and thank all citizens and stakeholders in the Cayman Islands who have supported gender equality for eras and as newcomers. I petition you all to embolden your family friends and colleagues; so that they continue to join you as you renew your enthusiasm; and take the pledge again this year and #ChooseToChallenge.
It’s been said that individually we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions; all day every day. Also, that we can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all also, choose to seek out, and celebrate women's achievements; and collectively we can all help create an inclusive world.
It is vital that we continue to join forces to create a Cayman Islands where our females and males, have equal opportunity; and equal opportunities in every other area of their lives. To achieve this we MUST continue to stand together; and become the united voice that calls for equality for all; also the community that settles for no less. This would better guarantee that our girls and boys; and women and men have a brighter future; no matter what they face or pursue. It is said that “equal rights for women, means a better quality life for all”.