The six persons receiving honours were: Dame Patricia Symmonds, Dame Maizie Barker-Welch, Ms. Yvette Gibson, Mrs. Joan Williams, Ms. Marva Alleyne and Dr. Patricia Ellis.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Acting Permanent Secretary, Janet Philips reflected on the success of the National Commission on the Status of Women.
“Just as the Report on the Moyne Commission published in 1945 was a watershed on the social and economic development of Barbados, so was the Report of the National Commission on the Status of Women in Barbados on the lives of women and dare I say the men of this country,” she stated.
The Commission convened on November 17, 1977, to inquire and report upon the Status of Women in Barbados, and on September 19, 1978, the Report on the National Commission on the Status of Women was submitted to Parliament.
Mrs. Phillips continued, “It is often said that the reports of Commissions of Enquiry are left on shelves to gather dust, but this was not the case with this report.”
Ten years after the report was submitted to Parliament, 95 per cent of the 212 recommendations had been implemented, leading women in Barbados to seek new opportunities in education and non-traditional jobs in politics, government and leaders of financial institutions.
The occasion of International Women’s Day was also used to announce the Bureau’s plans to celebrate ’50 years of Gender and Development’.
Mrs. Philips explained, “Celebrating 50 years of Gender and Development provides Barbadians the opportunity to select ten persons, who will be honoured for their work.”
She explained that the contributions these individuals have made to gender justice in Barbados will be highlighted in a documentary which will address the issues they confronted, how these were approached and their vision for Barbados in the next 50 years.
These persons will be selected through a nomination process and must be Barbadian nationals over the age of 18, who have made significant contributions to gender and development in Barbados.
While encouraging all persons present to submit their nominations to the Bureau of Gender Affairs before the deadline of May 14, Mrs. Philips stated, “There are many heroines and heroes out there and their stories need to be told, for they have made us proud”.