Esther Larrier from St. Philip.
Beaming Tessa Trotman was the recipient from St. Michael.
The Youth Award went to Marissa Headley.
Twelve phenomenal women who have committed their lives to community service were saluted on Saturday night at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination.
Through collaboration between the University of the West Indies Institute for Gender and Development Studies: Nita Barrow Unit and the Community Development Department, these unsung heroes were celebrated in recognition of International Women’s Day. Each of the recipients represented the island’s 11 parishes, with the final honouree being Marissa Headley, who received the Youth Award.
In the welcome remarks, Dr. Halimah Deshong, Head of the Institute of Gender and Development Studies: Nita Barrow Unit expressed, “Our hope is that the gender logic that has operated historically to deny women access to leadership will continue to be dislodged in ways that not only enhance our political participation, but also undermine harmful and complex systems of inequalities.”
She revealed, “I am personally humbled by the way in which all 12 women awarded here this evening operate with power, dedication and passion and the singular motivation to enhance their communities.”
In her address, the Hon. Cynthia Forde, Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs acknowledged, “The spirit of volunteerism within this nation is alive and well.”
However, there will be a national initiative with Government encouraging people from across every spectrum to give back to the community by giving their time, skills and resources to help strengthen community linkages while developing generational links which are necessary.
She implored, “Let your children get involved in volunteering.”
The citations that were read for each honouree were truly inspirational, with each of the women recognised for giving yeoman service to their communities. The categories used to select the awardees were social welfare provision, community-based human rights advocacy and activism, social entrepreneurship, community building and mobilisation, and sport. A requirement, which they all satisfied, was that the community service rendered is wide-ranging and extends beyond their immediate neighbourhoods.
Minister Forde stated, “They have all sacrificed and gone beyond the call of duty outside of their income-generating activities and community involvement over this period of time. Today we pay tribute to these 12 distinguished women for the opportunities they created for others to be cared for and to live up to their full potential.”
In the spirit of what International Women’s Day represents, Minister Forde asserted, “Today we see women sitting around the corporate tables and making invaluable contributions to strategic plans for business, organisations and for countries across the world.”
She noted, “I am happy to report that our country continues to make great strides regarding the progress of women, both in the business arena and in our numerous communities across this island.”
She assured, “It can no longer be said that it is a man’s world in Barbados.”
Entertainment was provided by the Cavite Chorale and the ceremony was followed by a reception in the foyer. (ST)
List of Awardees
St. Lucy – Shirley London
St. Peter – Sherryl Griffith
St. Andrew – Ernesta Phillips
St. James – Marguerita Lynch
St. Thomas – Lelia Gibbs
St. Joseph – Sharon Clarke-Bowen
St. Michael – Tessa Trotman
St. George – Hadassah Conliffe
St. John – Ronda Hope-Lovell
St. Philip – Esther Larrier
Christ Church – Josalene Browne
Youth Award – Marissa Headley