Carmen Campbell-belton died this week. As was reported she was the first female Permanent Secretary in the Jamaican Civil Service.
Her appointment was of special significance in Jamaica's history. Up to then, the Civil Service was a macho organisation. The men thought that women working in the Service should be brewers of coffee and carriers of water to them when they were holding meetings in the conference rooms. There was a time, for example, when women were only employed as typists. Men felt, for example, that it was a dangerous thing for a wife to be promoted to a senior post above her husband, as this could cause marital disputes and problems.
So Belton's appointment was a special moment in our time. Soon, there were more female Permanent Secretaries, a female Financial Secretary, female heads of departments, female High Commissioners and Ambassadors, and female consul-generals.
Today, frocks colour the establishment of the Civil Service. For the first 15 years or so of Omar Davies' tenure as Minister of Finance, his main advisers were a team of formidable women. Colin Bullock disturbed the female hierarchy. However, Derek Lati-beaudiere's deputies are women.
Rule the household budgets
Women therefore, rule the household budgets as well as the national!
This dominance of women in national affairs seeped into the private sector about 30 or 40 years ago. First it was Avis Henriques who became president of the male-dominated Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and the even stronger male bastion of business, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica. Now, the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association, the Jamaica Exporters Association and the Jamaica Employers' Federation are headed by women. Even the Young Men's Christian Associa-tion is run by a woman.
Once upon a time, men filled the newsrooms of The Gleaner, Public Opinion, Ja-maica Times and Radio Jamaica. Then sometime during the 1950s, women invaded these rooms, joined the press club and could drink many a man under the table.
They are engineers, architects, doctors, dentists, farmers, masons, welders, electricians, taxi drivers, bus drivers, carpenters, painters, and security personnel including the army and police. These were once professions for men alone.
They have also taken to football as if they invented the game. They are the big stars of track and field; Asafa Powell remains our only pride.
Women were once confined to special areas of church activities such as being organists and teachers in the Sunday schools. Now they are heads of the finance and the other committees of the church. And today there is an increasing number of female parsons.
They wear men's trousers and they walk in them with style. Once upon a time offices had 'men's rooms'. Now that women are taking over these are called 'rest rooms'.
And they menstruate; thank God, men do not womenstrate.