A Vision for 2015: Jamaican Women Speak

As we stride forward into 2015, I spoke to Jamaican women about what they would like to see for women – and for all Jamaicans – in 2015. Here are their responses, in just one sentence. Some of my respondents became a little wordy, however! I forgive them… As Bob Marley sang, “So much things to say…”

I hope you find these comments good food for thought and inspirational, too…

Marcia Moriah Skervin.
Marcia Moriah Skervin.

I would like to see a crime free Jamaica and a country that respects the rights of all

Marcia Moriah Skervin: Motivational speaker; Owner/Connect Your Dots; Consultant, Touch of Nature Connections

Dr. Sonjah Stanley Niaah.
Dr. Sonjah Stanley Niaah.

I need Jamaicans to reclaim their power as a people, and use the power of their creativity to make an impact at home in achieving social justice, human rights and a “one love” sense of community, something we have given through our music abroad with little effort.

Dr. Sonjah Stanley Niaah, Senior Lecturer, Cultural Studies, University of the Wesst Indies
Author of DanceHall: From Slave Ship to Ghetto (U of Ottawa Press) and Reggae Pilgrimages: Festivals and the Movement of Jah People (forthcoming, Rowman & Littlefield, UK); Coordinator, State of the Music Initiative http://www.dancehallgeographies.wordpress.com

Hilary Nicholson, Social/Gender Activist, Dramatist/Actress, Member, 51% Coalition.
Hilary Nicholson.

I would like to see ACTION re: violence against women – implement recommendations from various reports – massive public education campaign re zero tolerance of violence against women, and promoting gender justice as a necessary part of the SOCIAL JUSTICE that everybody wants to see! And gender equality is needed for real gender justice, just like social equality (utopia?) is needed for real social justice. Ooops – that wasn’t one sentence.

Hilary Nicholson, Social/Gender Activist, Dramatist/Actress, Member, 51% Coalition.

Taitu Heron.
Taitu Heron.

I would like to see the Government follow through on its commitment in reviewing the Sexual Offences Act and make meaningful, and human rights-centred legislative amendments to the Act, as this would have tremendous positive benefit for how girls and women are protected under the law. AND I would like to see parents and other family members truly honor ‘The Girl Declaration’ and nourish the spirit of their girl children and let them grow in confidence and strength.

Taitu Heron, Development Specialist, UN Women. The Girl Declaration can be found at: http://www.girleffect.org/media/1160/declaration_high_res.pdf

Joan Grant Cummings.
Joan Grant Cummings.

“I would like the Prime Minister to get serious on the commitment to women’s increased participation and equity in power and decision-making – make public boards and commissions appointments expected by April 2015 count!”​

Joan ‘Joy’ Grant Cummings, Researcher/Consultant, Development Specialist – Gender, Environment

 

Jeanette Calder.
Jeanette Calder.

I wish that all women would step out in audacious faith and bold courage to speak/act out against any and all forms of injustice and lack of fairplay being dealt out to another Jamaican, in the workplace, church and home, no matter how small or large.

Jeanette Calder, Activist, Jamaica Civil Society Coalition.

Dorothy Whyte.
Dorothy Whyte.

“Creation of more opportunities by the Private sector for young educated women from underserved communities to find employment opportunities that will allow them to earn incomes, to assist their families and further develop themselves”

Dorothy Whyte, Executive Director, Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre, 51% Coalition

I want to see a general change in attitudes of your young women. I want our girls to understand their rights as a woman and be empowered enough to demand it.

Yannick Hemmings, Marketing Consultant; Board Member, Eve for Life

Shaquani McKenzie.
Shaquani McKenzie.

Very proud of our Jamaican women across the globe making change; what I would like to see in 2015 is their stories highlighted. There are so many entrepreneurs and women leading organizations for change and that should be recognized by the masses.

Shaquani McKenzie, Council Member/Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network; Marketing Officer, Spring Vale Enterprises

Poet/Writer, The Drawing Room Project; Environmental Officer.
Joni Jackson.

 

I would like women to be true to themselves even if it means stepping away from accepted norms.

Joni Jackson, Poet/Writer, The Drawing Room Project; Environmental Officer.

Berette Macaulay.
Berette Macaulay.

As lifegivers, teachers, and nurturers, women bear the weighty pains of the whole world with indefatigable endurance of spirit and body, often in isolation, frequently victimized or blamed, with little platform to express the complexity of our multiple roles; and the time has come to hoist our voices front and center along with our babies to rescue this place; – but to do so, we must give non-competitive representational recognition to each other’s struggle so we can lift humanity collectively. It is the only choice remaining.

Berette Macaulay, Photographer, Artist, Writer.

Judith Wedderburn.
Judith Wedderburn.

My hope is that women, across race, class, age, politics, religion, social status, NGOs, women in business can come together and affirm that it is our collective journey that will bring success – removing gender inequality and all forms of discrimination against women, building consciousness among women to deal with violence against women and girls – doing whatever is necessary to stamp it out, learning to be motivated by the dignity and power of our womanhood.

Judith Wedderburn, Director, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung/Jamaica; Gender and Development Specialist; Member, 51% Coalition.

Marcia Forbes.
Marcia Forbes.

I’d like to see greater awareness among women and girls of the real situation facing females in general in Jamaica and not to swallow the rhetoric that ‘women are taking over’ based on the comparatively few in top positions, and along with this awakening, the recognition that the tide is turning in women’s favour to get our voices heard. We therefore should not miss the opportunity to speak up.

Dr. Marcia Forbes, Businesswoman, Social Media Guru, Author, Member, 51% Coalition.

Latoya Nugent.
Latoya Nugent.

I hope in 2015 more doctors like Michael Abrahams will publicly declare their willingness to provide non-discriminatory healthcare for lesbians, bisexual and especially transgender women in Jamaica.

Latoya Nugent, LGBT Activist.

Dawn Marie Roper.
Dawn Marie Roper.

“Whether young or not, whether well off or not, whether attractive or not and whether she bore children or not, Jamaican woman will claim the highest honour in her God-given role as nurturer and in 2015 fulfill this role well, knowing that Jamaica rises or falls on it.”

Dawn Marie Roper, Chairperson, Mensana

Barbara Blake Hannah.
Barbara Blake Hannah.

Fewer women single parenting because the baby father has abandoned them or refuses to help support the child.

Barbara Blake Hannah, Filmmaker, Author, Cultural Activist.

Yaneek Page.
Yaneek Page.

Women do so much & yet they remain a largely untapped source of transformation: my wish is that we invest more in ourselves, step up as leaders in our own right & support each other to become change makers. One love.

Yaneek Page, Business Coach, Certified Trainer, Award-Winning Entrepreneur.

Latoya West-Blackwood.
Latoya West-Blackwood.

In 2015, I would like to see Jamaican women realize their true potential and move aggressively to take their rightful places in spaces of power instead of continuing to stroking the egos of less than competent male counterparts who are placed as figureheads because it’s been the norm.

Latoya West-Blackwood, Publisher, Director/Book Industry Association of Jamaica, Entrepreneur.

 

Anna-Kaye Rowe.
Anna-Kaye Rowe.

 

I’d love to see our political leaders give more than lip service to the issues faced by women and girls in Jamaica demonstrating their firm commitment to equity and development. For 2015, it is my hope that we endeavour to protect our women and girls from all forms of harm and respect their rights as citizens.

Anna-Kaye Rowe, Graduate Student, Gender Activist.


13 thoughts on “A Vision for 2015: Jamaican Women Speak

  1. Truly inspiring collection here Emma – thank you so much for combining our voices, visions, and intentions this way. And now for the work! I look forward to seeing you again.

    Like

  2. Emma – thanks so much!! Your compilation does much to reflect the power, commitment and diversity that is at the centre of the tapestry of women’s leadership and experiences in Jamaica.
    Judith

    Like

    1. Thank you, Judith! Yes, it is a tapestry. A lovely way of putting it. Women’s experiences woven together… Thank you for your contribution and wishing you all the best as always…

      Like

    1. Yes, they are truly wonderful each in their different way…and so many more Jamaican women who can offer the richness of their experience and vision! I had a good holiday and yes, I think I am ready for 2015! I hope you are really well, Barbara, and thanks as always for your support. Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Emma I enjoyed the post, “Jamaican women speak” and would like to highlight a very unflattering incident involving a high ranking female police officer who was verbally abused by thugs at a PDC meeting in St. Thomas. I believe the matter needs to be ventilated by civil society organizations and that we should rally support for the sister.

    Sharene E McKenzie Director Harmonious Solutions 876-361-5377 Sharenemckenzie@gmail.com

    >

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    1. Sharene! I am so glad that you liked the comments. I could have included many more women, of course (including yourself from the wealth of your experience). Thank you for mentioning that disgraceful incident. I was shocked and very disturbed by the rant of these elected representatives of the people. I am going to share this information with colleagues and comment on it in my blog. Yes, we should rally support! Thank you Sharlene, and warm wishes for 2015!

      Liked by 1 person

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