Boldness Solidarity Determination: UDP Women Celebrate 25th Anniversary Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 05 June 2014 00:00

On May 27, 1989, thirty-eight bold women joined together and formed the United Democratic Party’s National Organization of Women (UDP-NOW). Their goal was to place women issues on the forefront of the party’s national agenda. These bold women would lobby for equal treatment, greater educational opportunities, pathway to decent work and positions at the highest decision making tables of the country. 25 years later, there is still much work to be done in the area of women empowerment. However, whether it is Hon. Faith Babb at the national political level or women like Kathy Esquivel in civil society, the efforts of the great 38 have paved the way for women of today to shatter any glass ceiling that stubbornly continues to exist. It is for that reason that the United Democratic Party honoured the Great 38 on the 25th Anniversary of UDP-NOW on Saturday, May 31.

Hundreds of women from across the country gathered on the House of Culture grounds on Saturday to celebrate the UDP-NOW’s 25th Anniversary. Anne Marie Williams hosted the event and speeches were delivered by Diane Haylock, President of UDP-NOW, and Alberto August, Chairman of the UDP. Jackie Castillo pumped up the ladies in attendance with her motivational song ‘We are Women In Charge’. August then handed out certificates of appreciation to the Great 38.

The country of Belize needs a group of women to take the baton from the Great 38 and work for greater representation in parliament. Too long have the women of Belize settled for a role in politics best analyzed by Anne MacPherson in the “Women in Politics” publication:

“Women of the time were seen by both men and women as the followers, micro-planners, and selfless givers. They did the political organizing, the cooking and cleaning… The ‘Bembe’ woman characterized these quintessential matriarchs: she was frequently a single woman with children, and strong, outspoken and fierce supporter of the political leader. Her loyalty to the leader, her secondary role within the party, and her dependence on it reflects the same sort of economic-sexual dependence on men…”

Women continue to play significant roles in internal party politics but are afraid to step from out the shadows and put their names on a ballot. The amount of viable women candidate working behind the scenes (behind the men) in both major political parties is incredible. The 38 original members of UDP-NOW did their part. It is time for the women of now to step up to the plate. That would make these wonderful ladies happy:

Mrs. Betty Alpuche
Ms.  Beatrice Flowers
Mrs. Theresa Aragon 
Ms.  Jane Fuller
Ms. Rose Armstrong 
Ms.  June Garcia
Mrs. Nellie Arnold 
Ms.  June Huesner
Mrs. Elma Arzu  
Ms.  Queenie Leslie
Mrs. Carol Babb 
Ms.  Charlyn Middleton
Mrs. Ilda Blanco 
Ms.  Lomey Nunez
Mrs. Alice Brown  
Mrs. Maiela Perez
Mrs. Sandra Campos 
Mrs. Rose Quan
Mrs. Lola Carballo  
Mrs. Lola Sosa
Mrs. Clara Casteneda 
Mrs. Faith Stuart-Babb
Ms.  Sylvia Cattouse 
Mrs. Elaine Thomas
Mrs. Louise Chan  
Mrs. Geraldine Tillett
Ms.  Veronica Chavarria
Mrs. Beverly Usher
Mrs. Darlene Dunn 
Mrs. Adelila Villanueva
Mrs. Agripina Espejo 
Mrs. Elodia Williams
Mrs. Bernadette Fernandez
Mrs. Maud Williams
Mrs. Norma Flores  
Mrs. Nessie Young
Mrs. Kathy Esquivel.