AMCHAM T&T’s WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
HYATT REGENCY, TRINIDAD
FRIDAY 9TH MARCH, 2016
REMARKS BY: MITCHELL DE SILVA, PRESIDENT AMCHAM T&T
Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen
I am incredibly honoured as President of AMCHAM T&T, to address a room of outstanding women (and some men) as we commemorate International Women’s Day. In an economic climate of such uncertainty, the continuity of this or any event is not guaranteed. I am delighted to say the conference is in its fifth year, continues to grow in size and depth of content and has become a signature event on AMCHAM T&T’s calendar.
Unfortunately, the celebration of this milestone is bittersweet. The World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report clearly highlights why we say this. Whereas previously the report estimated that it would take an astonishing 170 years to achieve gender parity, it now estimates that it will take 213.
If this remains true then women today, their daughters and possibly granddaughters, will not have the opportunity to live in a world where true gender parity exists.
As a leading business chamber in Trinidad & Tobago and one whose ambition and reach spans throughout the Western Hemisphere, AMCHAM T&T firmly believes that we must take the lead in discussing the power of women in business and the importance of gender parity in society. We believe that gender parity is an important achievement that has a major impact on how and whether economies and societies advance. Successfully engaging about half of the world’s talent pool, and harnessing their contributions will have a huge impact on the growth, competitiveness and economic transformation.
However, when I reflect on the findings of the Global Gender Gap Report, I believe that we in the business community must honestly ask ourselves – “Are we doing enough?”
Do we look around our boardrooms and ask ourselves “Why is there only one or sometimes no women present?”
Is the business community doing enough to speak out against sexual harassment in the workplace, and are we taking the necessary steps to ensure that organizations are safe and comfortable for all genders?
Are we doing enough to address violence against women? There are some women who feel safer at work that they do in their own homes. Their job is not only a source of financial independence but provides a temporary reprieve from the violence they face. What do we do when bruises turn into sick days and eventually reduced work performance? Do we stick to our K.P.Is and the numbers that influence of company’s profit and loss? Or do we begin to re-evaluate the value we place on the lives, mental health and overall well-being of our workers?
Is the collective conscious of business ready to ask the hard questions and take the necessary steps to press for progress?
While I do not purport to have all of the answers, I do believe this is why this conference and others like it are so important. My hope is that this event not only empowers us, but emboldens us to create a new level of expectancy and accountability of ourselves and our leaders.
I believe that in the same way I am my brother’s keeper, I am also my sister’s keeper, my mother’s keeper, my neighbour’s keeper and even my employee’s keeper. We must continue to come together, to support each other.
Before I close I would like to thank the organizations that have chosen to partner with us for this event. Our title sponsors Scotiabank and bpTT. Other major sponsors, United Airlines, Hyatt Regency Trinidad, McDermott Inc, Esau Oilfield Supplies Limited, Balroops and Caribbean Bottlers Limited, and our media partner Heartbeat Radio.
I thank you for your attention and wish you a productive and successful event.
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