Baroness Scotland becomes first woman Secretary General of the Commonwealth
The new Commonwealth Secretary General, Baroness Patricia Scotland, began her first day at work on Monday to the rhythm of a steel band, the sound of a gospel choir, and the flair of Quadrille dancers.
“I will never forget the support, solidarity and love that you and so many others showed me along the way. It’s lovely to see so many people who were part of my campaign here today,” she told the welcoming ceremony at Marlborough House.
The Dominican-born secretary general, who also served as an attorney general in Britain and recorded a number of firsts during her career, said she was looking forward to where the next generation of female leaders will come from, “and the next and the next after that.
“And I will be so happy when someone tells me I’m the second or the two hundred and second woman to be appointed to a post so many women have already qualified for.
“The Commonwealth I now serve covers a third of the globe’s population. That’s over two billion people across five of the world’s largest regions with more than half of them under the age (of) 30.”
She said over the last few years she has visited many countries across these five regions.
“I have spoken with political and faith leaders, men and women on the street, and most importantly to the young people about what they see as their biggest challenges. And what their hopes and aspirations are for the Commonwealth of the future.”
Baroness Scotland said that she wants as her agenda to “put the wealth back into Commonwealth but I also want to put the common back into wealth.
“There are four themes that I want to focus on as secretary general. First, tackling violence against women and girls. This has always been a priority for me. Domestic violence affects one in three women across the world and I don’t need to tell anyone here about the pain and lasting damage it causes not just for those directly affected, but for us all”.
She said she also wants to deal with trade and good governance and fourthly encourage young people, particularly those below the age of 30, to understand their role in the socio-economic development of the Commonwealth.