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June 03, 2020

Do not flinch in the face of adversity

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s announcement that phase three of the reopening of the T&T…
June 03, 2020

An open letter to sport #BlackLivesMatter

Citizens across the world have mobilised to stand up for equal rights, for freedom, fairness,…
June 02, 2020

Rolf Bartolo - A man of integrity

Tributes keep pouring in for Rolf Bartolo from different quarters in Trinidad and Tobago. On…
June 01, 2020

Lewis: Sport can be key in covid19 recovery

BRIAN LEWIS, president of the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC), says that sports can play a…
May 31, 2020


May 28, 2020

TTOC to roll out covid19 relief to athletes

The TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) is currently finalising the criteria needed for athletes to benefit…
May 26, 2020

OpEd: The IOC Stands in Solidarity With All Athletes and All Sports

Much has been written lately about the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s finances. Some of these…

Tokyo 2021 #1YearToGo

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Do not flinch in the face of adversity
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Slo­gans like “The fu­ture is fe­male,” and “Women hold up half the sky,” are just some of the words brand­ed across plac­ards and posters, as women across the globe cel­e­brat­ed In­ter­na­tion­al Women’s Day on March 8.

The call for gen­der equal­i­ty re­mains con­sis­tent and clear, with this year’s theme, Bal­ance for Bet­ter, dri­ving home the need for a more gen­der-bal­anced world.

While women have made leaps and bounds, mov­ing from sleep dusters, hair rollers and house slip­pers, to board­rooms and be­com­ing en­tre­pre­neurs and savvy busi­ness­women, there is still the ar­gu­ment that with all these ac­com­plish­ments, women are still treat­ed un­fair­ly and at times with lit­tle re­spect when in the pro­fes­sion­al world they sit in sim­i­lar chairs as their male coun­ter­parts.

The Sun­day Guardian spoke with two women, whose ca­reer path, took them in­to male-dom­i­nat­ed fields where they have both pros­pered, but have al­so en­coun­tered male chau­vin­ism. Dr Vanes­sa Har­ry and Dz­i­fa Job em­body “girl pow­er”, and they shared their ex­pe­ri­ences with us.

Dr Vanes­sa Har­ry, con­sul­tant gy­nae­co­log­i­cal on­col­o­gy sur­geon:

As the on­ly fe­male gy­nae­co­log­i­cal on­col­o­gist in T&T, it may some­times seem daunt­ing, but the re­al­i­ty is that I am con­fi­dent in my train­ing and abil­i­ties and I al­ways aim to put my pa­tients first.

En­ter­ing a sur­gi­cal sub­spe­cial­ty field for me was an easy de­ci­sion, not based on think­ing that I need­ed to prove any­thing to any­one, but mere­ly, I was do­ing some­thing I thor­ough­ly en­joyed and want­ed to be very good at it. Al­though now there are as many fe­male med­ical stu­dents com­pared with male stu­dents, men still sig­nif­i­cant­ly out­num­ber women in sur­gi­cal fields, par­tic­u­lar­ly in a sub­spe­cial­ty.

In the ear­ly days of my sur­gi­cal train­ing, I was lucky enough to be en­cour­aged and sup­port­ed by al­most all of my col­leagues, both male and fe­male. There were the oc­ca­sion­al com­ments made my way that I would un­doubt­ed­ly have to choose work over fam­i­ly, and can women re­al­ly do it all? My pol­i­cy, how­ev­er, has al­ways been to work hard—even hard­er than every­one else—both men and women, and not to ex­pect to be giv­en an easy ride be­cause you are a woman in a male-dom­i­nat­ed field. And can we re­al­ly do it all? Well, I feel that’s all about what you want from life. It’s al­ways go­ing to be a chal­lenge to bal­ance work and fam­i­ly, but that’s the same whether you’re a teacher, busi­ness­woman or a sur­geon. Do your best, work hard, and en­joy life and fam­i­ly first!

Dz­i­fa Job, pub­lic re­la­tions con­sul­tant/com­mu­ni­ca­tions spe­cial­ist:

When women come to­geth­er to sup­port and em­pow­er each oth­er amaz­ing things hap­pen, but to achieve gen­der equal­i­ty we need more. We need men who can recog­nise the qual­i­fied women in their cir­cle, and who are will­ing to rec­om­mend them for op­por­tu­ni­ties that they know ex­ist. I got my first chance to mar­ry my com­mu­ni­ca­tions savvy with my love of sport, be­cause Bri­an Lewis, pres­i­dent of the T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee (TTOC), was open to me pitch­ing my skills. That mo­ment where I served as press of­fi­cer for T&T and his men­tor­ship con­tin­ues to open doors lo­cal­ly and in­ter­na­tion­al­ly. In spite of this, men I meet are of­ten sur­prised at my knowl­edge of sport. This was ap­par­ent dur­ing the time I spent as part of CNC3 TV’s an­a­lyst team for the 2018 World Cup and my stint host­ing the num­ber one sports show in the Caribbean, Flow Sports Pre­mier League Week­ly. Things are get­ting bet­ter, but change is slow. I per­se­vere in spite of the “mansplain­ing” and bias be­cause change is on­ly pos­si­ble if we keep mov­ing for­ward. Every step counts. If not for my­self, then for the lit­tle girls who look at me and the oth­er women fea­tured who say to them­selves, I can do that too!