Inspired by Sunday’s protest at the Queen’s Park Savannah, a mother/daughter duo is calling on the women of T&T to stay away from work on Friday.
Samantha Juman and her mother Nadia attended the protest on Sunday at the QPS, where calls were made for restrictions on bail for rapists and kidnappers and legislative changes to allow women to carry non-lethal weapons by hundreds of citizens.
On Monday, Juman announced on her Facebook page, “An Act for Change” that she was calling for women across the country to stay away from their jobs on Friday. She said the recent violent murders of Ashanti Riley and Andrea Bharatt have renewed the outrage of citizens. Bharatt will be laid to rest on Friday.
She said Act for Change is calling for safer transportation for women and children, no bail for sexual offenders and the approval of the National Strategic Action Plan to end gender-based violence.
Juman listed marches and protests in the last five years, including the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” march against domestic violence in 2015 and the march in Port-of-Spain after Shannon Banfield was found murdered in 2016 among others.
“We have tried our hand at peaceful protesting, rallying, and marching. It has overwhelmingly disappointed us time and time again. Around the world, striking is known to be the last resort, and we must turn to this last resort,” she said in a press release yesterday.
In an interview with Guardian Media, Juman explained that according to World Bank statistics, women make up 43 per cent of T&T’s workforce. She said even if half of those women are able to stay at home, the effect on the economy would be widespread.
“If government and opposition leaders don’t hear women’s chanting, screaming, and shouting during marches on the street, they will surely feel the sting of women’s absence when 43 per cent of their workforce doesn’t show up. Show our leaders that women’s’ power and knowledge to contribute to this nation’s daily operations is our weapon for change.”
Juman said she understands that not every woman would be able to answer her call for a strike because they may not have job security.
But she called on those who can to take the action.
“For the women who can afford to do that, they should do it not just in the name of the deaths of all the women and children caused by violence but in the names of all the women who can’t afford to strike on Friday, it should be for them as well, we need to lift each other up.”
Juman said Friday’s action may not be the end of the group’s lobbying.