Visiting International Information Program (IIP) speaker, Assistant Professor of political science Dr. Kelly Dittmar, conducted a week-long outreach program to inspire and empower women to take on political leadership roles in Belize. Through a series of small round tables, public forums, school presentations, local television appearances, and the National Women in Politics Conference, Dr. Dittmar engaged political and business leaders, students, and the general public to discuss women’s political under representation in Belize, including challenges, opportunities, and strategies to increase representation.
Dr. Dittmar participated in the National Women’s Commission Conference, as well as other events in three of Belize’s six districts during the week of August 28, 2017. Using effective examples and experience from the United States with regard to gender and politics, Dr. Dittmar promoted and encouraged women’s participation in politics in Belize. In total, Dr. Dittmar took part in three round table discussions with women leaders in Belmopan, Punta Gorda and San Ignacio; two live television morning show appearances broadcast throughout the country; a public forum in Belize City; three presentations to over 200 students at University of Belize campuses in Belmopan and Punta Gorda and an adult education program at Claver College in Punta Gorda; and a presentation to U.S. Embassy staff. Dr. Dittmar also participated in a lunch hosted by the Chargé d’Affaires with Vice Ministers, Sweden’s Honorary Consul, and Government of Belize officials to advance women, peace and security issues. Through each event, Dr. Dittmar brought her expertise as an assistant professor of political science at Rutgers University–Camden and a scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics to discuss common challenges and opportunities, as well as strategies and next steps to increase women’s political representation in Belize.