It seems as if 2020 is “the year of the woman” in Jamaica, with not only a record number of women being elected as members of Parliament(MPs) but also a record number being sworn-in as senators.
In a historic swearing-in ceremony on September 15, a record number of 8 women (of a total of 21) were appointed as senators, representing 38%.
This is the largest percentage of female senators in the country’s history. Additionally, the House Speaker is Marisa Dalrymple and the Deputy Speaker is Juliet Holness.
The percentage of women on the Opposition side of the Senate is 50%, with four of the eight being women. They include two newcomers in business development consultant Janice Allen and communications specialist Gabriella Morris, who at 23-years-old is the youngest Jamaican to ever be appointed to the Senate. Two attorneys have also returned: Donna Scott-Mottley and Sophia Fraser-Binns.
On the government side, four of the 13 senators are women. They are Kamina Johnson Smith, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, attorney-at-law Sherene Golding-Campbell, the daughter of former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, Dr Saphire Longmore and Natalie-Campbell-Rodriques.
During the political debates prior to the September 3 general elections, both Prime Minister Andrew Holness and leader of the opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips had committed to ensuring that more women had a seat at the table. Both leaders have seemingly kept their promise, with women now becoming approximately one-third of the island’s legislators.
The elected members of parliament, 18 of which are women, were also sworn-in on September 15. Among the notable female MPs include Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Ann-Marie Vaz, Juliet Holness, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn and Angela Brown-Burke. Lisa Hanna was missing from the ceremony as a magisterial recount takes place in her constituency of South East St. Ann.
Rhoda Crawford, the 31-year-old newcomer that beat “political giant”, Peter Bunting, was also sworn-in as member of parliament. In an interview with CNW Network, Crawford said that she was happy to be among such a historic group of women.