7 News Belize

Belize At 30: Consider the Women
posted (March 20, 2012)
When we think of the nationalist movement, our minds jump to figures like George Price, Philip Goldson, Leigh Richardson and many of the men who helped pushed Belize to nationhood.

Well tonight, NICH is hosting an opening lecture on the role of women in Belize's Nationalist Movement. Dr. Anne Macpherson has done her research for her PHD dissertation on Belizean women's political history, and will be giving the lecture tonight. This will kick off a three day discussion called "Belize at Thirty", Nigel Encalada, the director of NICH told us more about the discussion.

Nigel Encalada, the Director of NICH
"Tonight is the opening of what is called Belize at 30 Conference. It is the last event on the calendar to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Belize's Independence; It is the education academic side so to speak of commemorating and looking at Belize's experience with independence."

"Tonight's lecture focuses the role of women from 1910's up to the 1960's. For obvious reasons we can't present the full scoop of her research on a single lecture, but it deals with the period in the 1910's and the 1960's, and she examines the role women played and asserts that women played a critical role in Belize's nationalist movement. A woman could get you elected, but at the same time she could also get rid of you in the event that you did not address their needs and concerns, so basically we discuss the realm of roles of women in Belize's nationalist movement."

"They would form sub groups out of the main street party but it would include some of the "bembe" women if you want to use that term, women who would go and slander and embarrass the people they were opposing, so women played a critical role, no one in the contexts of the patriarch of Belizean society. Nobody wanted to be embarrassed by a woman at a public meeting; nobody wanted to be embarrassed by a woman walking down a street, you know that sort of thing. So the women were critical in this psychology of getting men to walk the straight and narrow if you want to use that term."

Robin Schaffer
"In formal education we usually associate the nationalist movement with George Price, Phillip Goldson; we rarely hear about women, or any single woman. Could you list off or tell me about some women in particular?"

Nigel Encalada, the Director of NICH
"Some of the women who were associated with healthcare, for example, were actually political and social activists, Nurse Seay, Gilda Lewis, Emma Boiton. You have a number of women who fall; Gwen Lizarraga, you know, a number of women who played a critical role."

The lecture is being held in the Fordyce Chapel at St. John's College at 7:p.m. and the discussion will continue in an all-day lecture series on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

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