For decades, woman have fought for and continue to fight for the right to rock the world with their true potential. On the road to this year's International Women's Day which we celebrate this Friday, conferences, legislations, blood, sweat and tears have gone into elevating women to where they are today. The job is not done. Violence against women and discriminations in various forms are still a way of life for many. We have won many battles, but the war is a far cry from being over. until then, before we get back into the trenches, let's have a mini victory party and celebrate the women who have made it and shown others that it can be done. Tell a woman today how awesome she is, as we pay homage to a few of the female movers and shakers in Jamaica. HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY FROM FLAIR!!!
Portia Simpson Miller
The first female to ever lead Jamaica in the capacity of prime minister, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller created history in Jamaica's political landscape. Ranked by Time Magazine as among the world's 100 most influential persons, Simpson Miller was elected as prime minister in March 2006. Serving for a year before her party lost the general elections. in 2007, she again became prime minister after her party, The People's National Party, won the general election in December 2012. With her political career starting in the 1970s, she has had gained experience managing several portfolios, having been charged to head various government ministries such as sports and tourism just to name a few.
Blossom O'Meally Nelson
With a strong conviction that women should work to their maximum potential to achieve their goals, Blossom O'meally Nelson is one Jamaican woman to admire. Creating history in Jamaica, O'meally Nelson became the first woman to act in the capacity of postmaster general.
Not unfamiliar to challenges and managerial positions, she was also the chief executive officer of the postal corporation of Jamaica. The recipient of many national awards, including Order of Distinction, the woman who now works in a family business is also the founding director of the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica and the founding chairman of the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust.
Within the egocentric dance theatre industry, one woman rose above the rest to take over the performing arts, placing a unique twist on what we all call dance. L'Antoinette Stines began as a Jamaican dancer during the 1950's, dancing with Alma Mok Yen. She went on to attend the Martha Graham School and made strides as a dancer in the internationally acclaimed dance company Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.
Her professional dance and choreographic journey evolved after she returned to Jamaica, bringing back with her L'Acadco, her very own dance company. She also created her unique genre of dance - L'Antech. L'Acadco comprises dancers from across the Caribbean presenting the rhythms of Caribbean people on stage locally, regionally and internationally. L'Antech is a modern contemporary Afro-Caribbean dance technique which encompasses both theoretical language and practical components.
Stines has additionally placed great importance on academia and now holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in cultural studies. Acknowledging that as a woman, it is her spirituality that drives her, she pays homage to her African heritage in her work, making L'Acadco: A United Caribbean Dance Force a force to be reckoned with.
In an interview with the Gleaner Company in 2006, Manpower and Maintenance Services Ltd head honcho Audrey Hinchcliffe had this to say about business success. "You have to be patient. The want-it-now mentality does not work; every successful person had a journey and you must be prepared to walk that steadfast path. When something needs to be done, do it and quarrel afterwards. Avoid the blame game and remember that every setback is a set-up for a comeback."
Having undergone several challenges, including illnesses, the woman who is behind one of the most recognised janitorial services in Jamaica, epitomises resilience. The recipient of many awards for her role in business, Hinchliffe is seen as one of the most phenomenal and influential women in Jamaica's business history. Among the local awards and commendations she has received is the Order of Distinction for Entrepreneurial Enterprise and Leadership in Employer/Employee Relationships. In 2011, she was appointed to the US Department of State's International Council on Women's Business Leadership. Starting her professional journey as a nurse, Hinchcliffe has seen a significant growth in both her company's presence and recognition locally.