Sacha Walters-Gregory, Staff Reporter
Fifty outstanding Jamaican women were honoured on International Women's Day, last Thursday, by the Bureau of Women's Affairs, at the Wyndham Kingston hotel.
In keeping with Jamaica's upcoming 50th anniversary, the 50 women were selected for their contribution to a wide range of fields and overall nation building.
Awardees included Dr Olive Lewin, for her outstanding work in folk music; Wyvoln Gager, outstanding contribution to media; Captain Neneith Black, outstanding contribution in defence; Syringa Marshall-Burnett, outstanding contribution in nursing and Sandra Shirley for outstanding contribution in the financial services.
"We could never ever find all, or have all of them here today, so the awardees here today are just a representation of women to not just symbolically acknowledge their worth, but also to mark our 50th year of Independence and the noteworthy achievements of our women in the society," said executive director of the Bureau of Women's Affairs, Faith Webster.
"The Government is committed to supporting efforts to provide our women with equal access to the productive and other resources needed to increase their opportunities to reduce hunger and poverty," said Ffolkes-Abrahams who was representing Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.
"I would like to see more women taking their place in the political process of Jamaica," she added.
Webster concurred that there are many obstacles still faced by the Jamaican woman.
"We recognise that there is still much work to be done before women are full and equitable participants in Jamaica's social, cultural, and economic development," she said. According to a Jamaica Information Service press release, Webster indicated the employment difficulties being faced by women. "Webster cited recent data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica which shows that women also continue have an unemployment rate of almost twice that of men and are also relegated to low-paying sectors of the labour market."
Other awardees are Erica Allen (media), Audrey Anderson (central banking), Ambassador Madge Barrett (foreign service), Paulette Bellamy (classical music), Enid Bennett (politics), Venice Bernard Wright (medicine), Rev Dr Hyacinth Boothe (religion), Dr Erna Brodber (literary arts), Norma Brown-Bell (media), Maisie Campbell (agriculture), Dr Elaine Carter (education), Beryl Chevannes (sexual and reproductive health), Una Clark (support to the Jamaican diaspora), Dr Carolyn Cooper (culture), Ivy Cowan (community development), Dr Jean Dixon (science), Enid Donaldson Mignotte (culinary arts), Leonie Forbes (performing arts), Barbara Gloudon (performing arts), Marcia Griffiths (popular music), Carrole Guntley (tourism), Myrna Hague (jazz), Sonja Harris (gender and development), Olga Francis Keane (fashion designing), Vivalyn Latty-Scott (cricket), Norma Linton (law), Jean Lowrie-Chin (communications), Dr Dolly Mangue-Chin (opthamology), Diana McCaulay (environmental activism), Daisy McFarlane-Coke (actuarial science), Diana Mcintyre Pike (community tourism), Justice Avril McKain (judiciary), Alma MockYen (media), Violet Nielson (politics), Sara Newland Martin (persons with disabilities), Hilary Nicholson (gender and media), Florizelle O'Connor (human rights), Deputy Commandant Olga Percy (national security), Deputy Colonel Norma Rowe-Edwards (Maroon community), Fay Saunders (education), Mabel Tenn (business), Norma Webster (cosmetology and Wellness), Jean Wilson (communications), Pearl Wright (horticulture).