Let’s drop the little problems we have between us, because what we want to do together is more important.
This article is a part of Haiti Women In Leadership series. Preview the full series.
Mayor Marie Yolaine Philippeaux has been a lawyer, a credit union administrator and, for 22 years, a science teacher. But, she says, “I wanted to help my community, especially young people,” so when several of those young people encouraged her to run for mayor of La Vallée de Jacmel, she did so, successfully, in 2016.
Philippeaux is part of a growing trend in Haiti of women entering local politics. However, in national politics, Haiti has among the lowest rates of female participation in the world. Philippeaux can think of three reasons for this: Men in politics aren’t welcoming women in, men in the family aren’t taking on enough household responsibilities, and women aren’t helping each other enough.
She knows what to do about the third point: “We need to establish that we are women and we have a common battle to fight,” Philippeaux says. “Let’s drop the little problems we have between us, because what we want to do together is more important. Let’s all combine forces to achieve our common goals.”
Philippeaux says the Forum of Haitian Women Elected Officials is a start.