International Women’s Day Message by the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, Leader of the Opposition

Photo: File Leader of the Opposition, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller.

Story Highlights

  • On International Women’s Day, I reflect on the tremendous contribution that women have made to the social, economic, cultural and political development of Jamaica.
  • Governments that I have led have been cognizant of the vital role that Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) must play in achieving broad-based economic growth and wealth creation for women.
  • I continue to be heartened by the continued success over many Administrations, of programmes for the wellbeing of young women such as the Women’s Centre Foundation of Jamaica, founded by a previous Administration in which I served.

On International Women’s Day, I reflect on the tremendous contribution that women have made to the social, economic, cultural and political development of Jamaica.

I am honoured to have led Governments that consistently demonstrated a commitment to real empowerment of women in all spheres of national life. I lead a political Party that regards the advancement of women as part of our broader fundamental mission of social, economic and political empowerment of the Jamaican people.

Over the years we have led the introduction of policies and programmes to give meaning to this commitment. At the community and national levels more women are starting operating businesses in Jamaica. At the global level the International Labour Organization has reported on Jamaica’s leadership of the world in terms of the proportion of women in management roles across various disciplines.

Governments that I have led have been cognizant of the vital role that Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) must play in achieving broad-based economic growth and wealth creation for women.  As part of that recognition, we created an MSME & Entrepreneurship Policy which specifically addressed the issue of gender.

The Tablets in Schools programme and community access centres provided both men and women with opportunities to enter and excel in the knowledge and creative economies. This has been part of a broader initiative to ensure than female students are not left out of the increased focus on math, science and technology education and training.

The National Policy for the Reintegration of School Aged Mothers into the Formal School System, was approved by our Administration in May 2013.  The policy now mandates the return of teenage mothers to school so that their education and subsequent economic productivity will remain relatively unaffected by the birth of a child. In this way, a woman’s biology is no longer the determinant of her destiny.

I continue to be heartened by the continued success over many Administrations, of programmes for the wellbeing of young women such as the Women’s Centre Foundation of Jamaica, founded by a previous Administration in which I served.

I and the movement I lead, remain committed to contributing to the economic empowerment of women to drive development in our nation.  This must be the focus of the Government and non-governmental sectors to ensure that we build on the gains of the past to accelerate the achievement and maintenance of gender parity in Jamaica.

JIS Social