Activities held for International Women’s Day

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The Department of Gender Affairs began the observance with a Church Service on Sunday, March 7th at the Cayon Church of God of Prophecy, which was followed by the start of a three-day workshop organized by the Canadian Commission on Gender-Based Analysis, on the morning of International Women’s Day.

In the afternoon of March 8th, the Department hosted the annual International Women’s Day Awards Ceremony at the CUNA Conference Centre. Chaired by Ms. Patrice Harris, the ceremony saw five (5) women receiving Awards for their leadership during the COVID 19 pandemic. The Awardees are: Ms. Janelle Williams in the area of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Mrs. Michele Christmas-Jacobs in the area of Communication, Nurse Eulynis Brown for Healthcare, Ms. Dale Kelly in the category of Community Outreach, and Mrs. Chelesa Rawlins, who received the Prime Minister’s Award.

In giving remarks at the Event, the Honourable Minister Eugene Hamilton encouraged women to “Take up space!” as “Nobody gives you power, you have to take it!”, while featured speaker and first female President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Mrs. Giselle Matthews noted that, while women have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 job losses and lockdown stresses, they have also contributed significantly to the stability of the home and family while providing exceptional leadership for the country during the current challenging times.

In continuing celebration of women, on March 9th the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs re-launched the Pioneering Women’s Gallery – an Exhibition of the achievements of local female pioneers in various areas, including, architecture, medicine, public service, and business- which had been dormant for the last few years. As part of the Launch, six (6) new women were inducted into the Gallery, which has already featured over thirty (30) female trailblazers. These six (6) new pioneers and their areas of recognition are:

Ms. Mercelyn Hughes – First female Chief Immigration Officer
Ms. Meritzer Williams – First female to medal at a Regional Competition
Dr. Merisa Grant-Tate – First female Oncologist
Mrs. Sonia Boddie-Thompson – First female Clerk of National Assembly
Ms. Karisia Willet – First female Senior Calypso Monarch
Dr. Naudica Philip – First Female Pathologist

The Ministry congratulates these new Gallery inductees and invites all to view the Exhibit during normal working hours at the Ministry’s Administration Building at Victoria Road, up until the end of March.

Nominations for the Gallery can also be sent via email to

Activities to highlight women’s contributions will continue until month-end and will include a tribute to Industrial Estate Workers on March 21st, and radio programmes featuring women in leadership on various stations.

End of Release March 10th, 2021