Jamaican Women Are Working… And It’s All Good

While the Tambourine Army has been making the headlines, Jamaican women have, as usual, been writing, meeting, advocating and speaking at various events around the country. Here are just a few of the things they have been doing – this is a bit of a “catch up” post… It’s a busy month for women.

Dr. Marcia Forbes is Executive Chairperson of Phase Three Productions.

51% Coalition member and Executive Chairperson of Phase 3 Productions Dr. Marcia Forbes spoke at an International Women’s Day lunch hosted by Prime Minister Andrew Holness and attended by about fifty women. The indefatigable Joan Grant Cummings (who has herself written a powerful piece, which I will post shortly) provided Marcia with some of the information for her presentation on Gender Equity and Equality Issues, in which she pointed out that women bring tremendous value to any nation’s economic and political landscape. She presented key facts about women’s involvement (or lack of it) in both these spheres. You can read the text here.

Talking of the Prime Minister, Mr. Holness has appointed the CEO of Jamaica Environment Trust Diana McCaulay as Chairperson of a new environment working group – really good news!

Elsewhere, women have been reaching out. Shauna Fuller Clarke is touring schools in western Jamaica with supportive family members, to talk to girls about endometriosis. Her BASE Foundation aims to provide support and information to women who suffer from Endometriosis and to promote research in the medical field. Shauna is working hard to raise awareness of this disease – a horrible affliction that has all kinds of negative social and health impacts – amongst the general public, women and the medical profession. This year’s “Endo March” will take place in Montego Bay on Saturday, March 25 at 7:00 a.m.

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), led by Kelly Tomblin, held its second Women in Energy Conference on March 9-10, and it sounded really enjoyable. More than 400 delegates from Jamaica, the Caribbean and North America attended. The event, staged by the women of JPS, is designed to give women in the energy industry a platform to address global challenges and opportunities, as well as those encountered by women leaders in other industries that will foster their advancement professionally and personally. The line-up of speakers included outstanding corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, and development specialists.

Plenty of energy in this photograph from the JPS Women in Energy Conference last week!
Thank you! The awesome Alecia Jones of Voices of Jamaica Foundation (left) makes a presentation to the moderator of our International Women’s Day discussion Shaquani McKenzie at Excelsior Community College.

The Voices for Jamaica Today Foundation partnered with the Eagles Outreach Club at Excelsior Community College on International Women’s Day for a special seminar, and I was honoured to speak alongside Dr. Donna Powell Wilson, Paulette Roberts Dowe and Paula Ferguson. It was powerful – and we also had a lot of great laughs. I will be writing more about this!

On the same day (yes, there was a lot going on!) RISE Life Management Services held its Civil Society Boost Initiative, funded by the European Union. Besides presentations by several women and afternoon breakout sessions, Kellie Magnus told us about the Fight For Peace program in Jamaica and the concept of collective impact. I must learn more about this one.

Women on the platform at the launch of RISE Life Management’s Civil Society Boost Initiative, funded by the European Union. (left-right): Sonita Abrahams, CEO, RISE; Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, EU Representative in Jamaica; Marlene Malahoo Forte, Attorney General; and Lisa Hanna, Opposition Spokesperson on Youth and Culture. (My photo)

It seems to be Women’s Month here in Jamaica, as well as the annual U.S. celebrations. Are more women raising their voices and working within their own spheres for Jamaica’s development?

I get the feeling the answer is yes, and I am optimistic.

Shauna Fuller Clarke with two students of Montego Bay High School during her tour for the BASE Foundation, boosting endometriosis awareness. (Photo: BASE Foundation)


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