Celebrating Jamaican women
THE EDITOR, Madam:
International Women’s Day 2020 has found Jamaica boasting many women who have excelled in leadership, business, entertainment and sports. Recent examples include Koffee, with her album Rapture, being the youngest and first female to win the Grammy for Best Reggae Album in January 2020.
In December 2019, Toni-Ann Singh was crowned Miss World. This was won by three other Jamaican representatives – Carole Crawford (1963), Cindy Breakspeare (1976) and Lisa Hanna (1993). In 2018, the Reggae Girlz qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the first Caribbean nation to do so. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (2013) and Merlene Ottey (1990) have won the IAAF Female World Athlete of the Year.
We currently have a female auditor general, attorney general, director of public prosecutions, and managing director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (rated by Bloomberg as the best performing in the world last year).
We have had a female prime minister, Portia Simpson-Miller, when compared to the United Kingdom with Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May, and the USA having no female president to date.
Examples of our prominence in fashion, music and the arts include Stacey McKenzie, Grace Jones, Nadine Willis; The I-Three, backing the legendary Bob Marley; Honourable Louise Bennett-Coverley, Dr L’Antoinette Stines, and Dr Olive Lewin.
Countless others exist (too many to mention here). They walk/walked among us – in business, on public transportation, at the tax office, in our classrooms, in the health sector, the army, security forces, the government, and the Church.
These women are home-grown. Someone had to care for, protect, educate, support and motivate them to achieve. It is encouraging that some have been recognised with statues and national honours.
Jamaica, let’s continue to nurture, love and empower our women and girls instead of the rising trend of violence against them. We embrace them with the words of our very own artistes – “J amaican woman is really nice” (Fab Five Band); “ She’s royal, so royal” (Tarrus Riley).