International Women's Day 2021

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, MARCH 8, 2021 10 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY Government and opposition women senators pose at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston on Tuesday (September 15, 2020). They are (from left) Natalie Campbell Rodriques, Janice Allen, Kamina Johnson Smith, Sherene Golding Campbell, Donna Scott Mottley, Sophia Fraser-Binns, GabrielaMorris, Dr Saphire Longmore. IAN ALLEN/PHOTOGRAPHER IAN ALLEN Senator Kerensia Morrison, Dr Michelle Charles, Tova Hamilton, Tamika Davis, and Marsha Smith. The Upper House will also see its fair shareof seats takenupbywomen, as eight of the 21 appointed sena- tors arewomen, four fromeach side. The record-setting number includes the youngest senator ever to be ap- pointed in our country’s history. GabrielaMorris, a23-year-oldnative of Montego Bay, captured the atten- tion of the nation when it was made knownthatshewouldbeappointedto theUpper House. However, although she is embarkingonsomethingnever yet done, she was undaunted by the challenge in front of her. “I am certainly new, but I believe that I amhere to do a new thing, not just here to fall in line, so I am not intimidated,”she told The Gleaner . Morris, who is a member of the People’s National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO), is not new to positionsofleadership,havingbeenan adviser for IrvineHall atTheUniversity of theWest Indies and vice-president of the Guild of Students at the high- er-learning institution. Her new position of senator holds considerably more responsibility, but she feels that she is capable of performing well in her new role. “There has been a great call for youth voices in the political process, and I am here as a young person,” said Morris. The representation of women in politics in Jamaica has come a far way since 1962, when only 4 women were elected. The influx of feminine sensibilities in both the Upper and the Lower Houses, as it stands now, is crucial given that abortion is one the most hotly talked about topics at the moment. Member of Parliament Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn has been pushing for the controversial issue to be placed back on the political agenda and has been a lightning rod for criticism from religious factions. The issue continues to be conten- tious, but having the stateMinister in theMinistry of Health andWellness, and a mother herself, leading the push for discussion is appropriate be- cause overseeingmaternal health is one of her assigned responsibilities. Tensions aside, only positives can be taken from the fact that women are now being readily accepted into places where they can influence sig- nificant and meaningful change. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us reflect on just how far Jamaica has come, acknowl- edging the roleof trailblazingwomen whohave set the stage for thewomen of Gordon House today to shine. Let us hope that the influence of our women continues to grow, taking Jamaica one step closer to a country that symbolises equality for all. HOUSE CONTINUED FROM 8