- Twenty-one outstanding women honoured for their work in the Jamaica Women’s Political Caucus
- The JWPC has trained over 800 women in campaign management and candidacy over the years
Twenty-one outstanding women have been honoured for their role in advancing the cause of women, through their work in the Jamaica Women’s Political Caucus (JWPC).
The 21, who have made their mark in a wide cross section of fields in the society, were recognized for their yeoman service at the JWPC’s 21st anniversary awards luncheon, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, on Thursday, July 18.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, in a message read by State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams, congratulated the women, noting that their recognition was a fitting way to celebrate the organisation’s 21st anniversary.
“Today, we speak your names with pride into our nation’s history, so that generations to come will bless you as they continue to build on the foundation,” she said.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the Jamaica Women’s Political Caucus has upheld the right of Jamaican women to be affiliated with the party of their choice.
“Standing on that principle, it has led the way in mobilizing women to work together in a non-partisan model, in order to achieve the developmental goals that must be met if Jamaica is to take its rightful place in the global village,” she said.
She noted that over the years the Caucus has never deviated from its vision of providing support for women to participate equally at the highest levels of decision making.
Pointing to the JWPC’s objective of raising the number of female parliamentarians to at least 40 per cent of the total members of Parliament, a vision that is reflective in the United Nations and its member agencies, the Prime Minister said she was aware of the many systematic barriers that have prevented the country from reaching that goal.
“However, I am also confident that through partnerships with civil groups, such as the Women’s Political Caucus, we can hope for a brighter future in line with the Millennium Development Goals, which include Gender Equality and the Empowerment of women,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
She noted that the work of the Caucus over the years have been tireless and fruitful, pointing out that women venturing out into political careers now have an established and valuable resource for training, advice and other forms of support.
In the meantime, President, JWPC, Merline Daley, noted that the organization continues to chip away at “the vast rock of inequality in regards to women’s right to hold positions of decision making in this country,” and will not stop until significant changes are realized.
She pointed to the fact that women represent 51 per cent of the population, yet their representational percentage in the Parliament and the Parish Councils bear no relationship to that percentage. She also noted that women far outweigh men in terms of higher education, yet are passed over in favour of men.
“This situation must change if Jamaica is to realize her fullest potential,” Ms. Daley said.
She reported that the JWPC has trained over 800 women in campaign management and candidacy over the years.
Among those honoured were Blossom O’Meally Nelson, Joan Browne, Merlene C. Daley, Beryl Ennis, Maisie Gore, Jeanette Grant Woodham, Maxine Henry Wilson, Gloria Langrin, Essene Lewis, Rev. Dr. Marjorie Lewis, Dorothy Lightbourne, Beverly Manley Duncan, Hermione McKenzie, Gloria Millwood, Violet Neilson, Dr. Beverley Pereira, Dorienne Rowan Campbell, Donna Scott Mottley, Evelyn Smart, Marie Thompson and Faith Webster.