NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (March 09, 2022) — Ten women and girls along with two organisations on Nevis were honoured at an International Women’s Day Awards Ceremony at the Nevis Performing Arts Centre (NEPAC) on March 08, 2022. The theme was “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” #breakthebias.
At the event which was hosted by the Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs, awards were presented to Mrs. Wendy Elliott-Williams; Mrs. Merla Isles Barzey; Ms. Rhosyll Jeffers; Mrs. Rita Tamara Persuad; Ms. Joy Napier; Ms. Devene Smithen; Ms. Aleyah Powell; Ms. Kwesian Davis; Ms. Hydeia Tyson; Ms. Nykiesha Henry and two organisations namely the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS); and Windward in Action (WinA), for their contributions in various areas of sustainable development on Nevis.
Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health and Gender Affairs in her remarks told the awardees they were valued, and urged them to encourage others to follow in their footsteps.
“I salute you this evening. You are our prized possession. Your stellar efforts and accomplishments cause you to shine even more. Let this evening’s award cause you to do more. Never stop at where you are. Exceed more expectations, surpass more limits, shatter more glass ceilings and do so while bringing other women and girls along with you on the path to greatness. The difference you make will empower others to make a difference likewise.
“You have made us all proud. We are eternally proud of your accomplishments. You make me proud to be woman. So on behalf of the Nevis Island Administration, I want to thank you for being amazing, to thank you for what you have started, and we implore you to continue to do what you are doing. We congratulate you and we say kudos on a job well done,” she said.
Mrs. Brandy-Williams stated that those who were awarded proves that the theme for International Women’s Day 2022, “Gender Equality Today, for a Sustainable Tomorrow” is a fact that can be realised.
“These movers and shakers, world changers and history makers that are being honoured here are making ardent strides towards the sustainability of our nation. Years ago, they felt empowered enough as girls and women to start making a lasting difference in their lives. Little did they know that what they were doing would have such a solid impact on the lives of others. They have made a positive difference in the lives of their families, their neighbours and in the lives of Nevisians as a whole.
“Imagine, the women who are blazing the trail in agriculture today are feeding us. They are reducing the import bill and tackling a major global concern. That global concern of food security but if they were never empowered as equals in the past, their contributions would not have been realized, and we would not have been here to celebrate them today,” she said.
The minister noted, it was for that reason she will continue to be resolute in her stance that space should be made for women and girls in every aspect of life, in every avenue of business, at every level of policy making and in every field of study because the manner in which women and girls are valued today, impacts what they can achieve tomorrow, and what they achieve tomorrow will directly impact the success everyone can enjoy as a nation.
She used the opportunity to encourage every woman and girl to dream big and to pursue their dreams.
“Never let anyone dissuade you. Never let anyone discount your ability. Never let anyone disenfranchise or discourage you. Know that you have much to give and the world would only be less without your valid input.
“Let us all embrace and empower our women, equip our girls and view them as capable equals, and let us all start now. Let us be mentors to other women and girls around us; let us celebrate and promote women instead of criticizing and pulling down; let us lobby for women to be treated fairly and to be paid equally for the great work that they are doing; let us create space, let us create valuable space for our women and girls so that they can have their ideas, opinions valued and heard, and so let us start by doing it now,” she said.
Also present at the ceremony were Her Hon. Hyleta Liburd, Deputy Governor General on Nevis; Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis and Minister of Health and Gender Affairs and Mrs. Brantley; Hon. Spencer Brand and Mrs Brand; Mrs. Hélèn Lewis, Legal Advisor and her husband; and Hon. Cleone Stapleton-Simmonds, Opposition Member.