26 Winners Awarded In The 2020 International Women’s Day WOW Awards


Last evening the Directorate of Gender Affairs (DoGA) within the Ministry of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development, Youth, and Gender Affairs honoured 25 women and one private-sector agency for their outstanding service to the nation
of Antigua & Barbuda at the Women of Wadadli Awards Gala.

The event, held at the Sandals Grande Antigua Resort, was the first national award ceremony of its kind designed to specifically highlight women’s contributions to national development and promoting gender equality.

DoGA Executive Director, Farmala Jacobs, said that this year’s celebration of International
Women’s Day is especially significant and that the Woman of Wadadli Awards aimed to
recognize the unsung heroes among us.

“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration & Platform for Action.
Women have made and continue to make remarkable contributions to the development of
Antigua and Barbuda. These contributions can often be overlooked so we decided to spotlight the work of women in this year’s International Women’s Day activity.”

Adopted in 1995 in Beijing China, the Beijing Declaration & Platform for Action outlines
twelve (12) critical areas of concern including women’s education, political participation,
healthcare, and the girl child, and is considered the most progressive roadmap for the
empowerment of women and girls globally.

The awards were distributed in three (3) categories. The Woman of Wadadli Awards were
presented to women of at least 30 years of age who have made exceptional contributions to their specific field of interest and the empowerment of women and girls nationally.

The Minister of Gender Affairs Woman to Watch Award was given to a woman under age 30
making significant progress in her profession, and the Dame Gwendolyn Tonge Lifetime
Legacy Award was given to a woman over 55 years of age who has made significant
contributions to national development and the promotion of gender equality throughout her

An additional award, the Prime Minister’s Corporate Citizen Award, was granted to a private
sector agency that promotes gender equality through its policies and programmes.

The selection committee selected the following list of winners from a field of approximately
100 nominations.

Woman of Wadadli Awards

Agriculture – Novella Payne

Banking & Finance – Dawn Soleyn


Business, Industry, & Commerce – Valarie Hodge

Community Changemaker – Barbara Arindell

Culinary Arts – Coleen Simpson

Culture – Heather Doram, MFA, GCM

Economic Development – Roberta Williams

Education – Joann Boulos Callias

Environmental Activism – Andrea Otto

Fashion – Noreen Phillips

Fine Arts – Zahra Airall

Human Rights Activism – Dr. Cleon Athill

Healthcare – Dr. Jillia Bird

Law – E. Ann Henry, QC

Literature – Joanne C. Hillhouse

Media & Communications – Mickel Brann

Music & Entertainment – Marion Byron

Political Leadership – Dr. Jacqui Quinn

Religion – Kai Davis

Science & Technology – Mako Williams

Sports- Renee-Edwards Ambrose

Tourism – Vashti Ramsey Casimir

Trade Unionism – Nathalie Payne

Minister of Gender Affairs Woman to Watch Award Shawnisha Hector Dame Gwendolyn Tonge Lifetime Legacy Award E. Ann Henry, QC Prime Minister’s Corporate Citizen Award
A.S. Bryden & Sons

In her presentation at the ceremony, Honourable Minister of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development, Youth, and Gender Affairs, Samantha Marshall, recognized the awardees as activists in their own right, noting that Civil Society Activism is essential to good governance and to achieving the goal of gender equality.

“Today… we celebrate civil society as equal partners [with the government]. We need your
activism, we need your partnership, we need your voices to keep us accountable, and we need your actions to help propel us forward.”

Prime Minister, Gaston Browne was also present to present to Corporate Citizen Award.
The Woman of Wadadli Awards Gala was sponsored in part by the Caribbean Union Bank
(CUB). CUB’s General Manager, Karen Richardson noted the importance of promoting
women’s empowerment in the banking sector to sustainable development.

“Small businesses, are the drivers of the economy and women are increasingly becoming
entrepreneurs. As a local institution, Caribbean Union Bank is pleased to offer financing
options to these businesses and we are also especially pleased to partner with the Directorate of Gender Affairs on the Women of Wadadli Awards,” she said.

The business categories were sponsored by the Antigua and Barbuda Employers Federation
(ABEF). The President of the ABEF, Sherrie-Ann Brazier assisted with the distribution of the
awards for the following five (5) categories; Banking and Finance, Business, Industry and
Commerce, Culinary Arts, Tourism and Trade Unionism.

Recipient of the Dame Gwendolyn Tonge Lifetime Legacy Award, E. Ann Henry QC offered
a response on behalf of the awardees. In her remarks, she expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Social Transformation and the Directorate of Gender Affairs for the recognition of women.

She also reminded those present that while “One woman can make a difference, together we can rock this world.”

The featured speaker Amina Doherty congratulated all awardees for their hard work and
dedication to improving the lives of women and girls.

The year 2020 also marks 40 years since the founding of the Women’s desk, the agency that ultimately became The Directorate of Gender Affairs. Two members of the organisation’s staff, Mrs. Sarathine Mayers, and Mrs. Keren Isaac were awarded for over 30 years of service to the department.

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  1. Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! “Comrades, there is no true social revolution without the liberation of women.” – Capitaine Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara, the Upright Man, Revolutionary, Pan-Africanist theorist, and assassinated President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987!

    WOW! Congrats to all of the Well Deserving Award Recipients – Phenomenal Women!

    “Humankind does not submit passively to the power of nature. It takes control over this power. This process is not an internal or subjective one. It takes place objectively in practice, once women cease to be viewed as mere sexual beings, once we look beyond their biological functions and become conscious of their weight as an active social force. What’s more, woman’s consciousness of herself is not only a product of her sexuality. It reflects her position as determined by the economic structure of society, which in turn expresses the level reached by humankind in technological development and the relations between classes.” – Capitaine Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara!

    Recognition comes with having One’s Own Possessions! Give Praise and Thanks to three Nation Building Champions and Change Agents: Mesdames Samantha Marshall, Farmala Jacobs and Karen Richardson, as they show the essence of being human by building solid institutions for National Development! May they lead the way in removing black dislocation, disorientation, decenteredness, and lack of agency embodied in the titles of “Sir Lancelot and The Knights of The Round Table” from this Independent Rock!

    “Our revolution is not a public-speaking tournament. Our revolution is not a battle of fine phrases. Our revolution is not simply for spouting slogans that are no more than signals used by manipulators trying to use them as catchwords, as codewords, as a foil for their own display. Our revolution is, and should continue to be, the collective effort of revolutionaries to transform reality, to improve the concrete situation of the masses of our country.” – Capitaine Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara, the Upright Man!

  2. Congratulations to ALLthe awardees-and the many unannounced names-and the Directorate of Gender Affairs!
    The powerful women of A&B made, and continue to make their various contributions for our social changes, highlighted by their knowledge and ideas in entrpreneurship and the Antiguan & Barbudan ownership of our economic assets.
    We are always reminded:’When you learn, teach. When you get, give.’ Maya Angelou.

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