Prime Minister Receives IOC Award

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller was today (March 8), presented with the International Olympic Association (IOC) Women and Sport World Award for 2007, for being a political voice for the good of women and sport.
The award was presented to the Prime Minister by the IOC President, Jacques Rogge, at a special ceremony at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
This award, which is made by the IOC’s Women and Sport Commission, recognizes women from the five continents around the world who have demonstrated the skills, knowledge and determination to take leading roles in policy development to ensure the inclusion of women and the participation of women at all levels in sport.
The citation praised Mrs. Simpson Miller for her many years as sport Minister and her work to promote the involvement of women in sport.
“Her personal leadership, following a bottom up philosophy, has also clearly raised women’s activities in Jamaica’s sport world and as a result, more and more women are being elected to the decision making bodies of the national sports federations,” the citation read.
In her response, the Prime Minister said that the award was profoundly meaningful and moving.
“I feel very privileged to be in the company of such outstanding women in sport, who continue to set a blistering pace by their spectacular abilities and dedication to excellence,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
She emphasized that it was imperative that women, who currently lag behind in the development process, be brought into the mainstream of all aspects of human endeavour. “They must enjoy equal opportunity to produce and profit from the fruits of their labour. If women continue to be left on the margins, and if we fail to embrace their tremendous potential, then we will only be playing at half-strength in a competitive global field,” the Prime Minister said.
Mrs. Simpson Miller pointed out that when she became Prime Minister a year ago, she retained portfolio responsibility for women’s affairs and sport, because she was convinced that sport was a very important vehicle for the empowerment of women and the acceleration of sustainable development.
“I am encouraged by the progress being made in correcting some of the gender-based inequities, still existing generally in sport. Wherever we are placed, as leaders in our fields, we can take heart at some of the signs of progress,” she said.
The Prime Minister said the award represented the courage and the determination of the pioneers of 1928, who first broke through the tape of discrimination to open the way for women’s participation in the Olympic programme.
“The Women and Sport Trophy represents the struggles and triumphs of women all over the world — in their villages and inner cities, in community organizations and large corporations,” she added.

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