WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7: Come on, let’s hear it for the girls — after all this week sees women across the world marking International Women’s Day, an annual celebration of great female achievements. So with no apologies to all you guys out there, here’s a take on all the women who not only make the world go round but rock it.
Some outstanding international women come to mind and my own heroine has to be the Sunday Times correspondent, Marie Colvin, who lost her life reporting the atrocities in Syria. Her final report gave a moving account of how she watched a young baby die after it received terrible chest wounds and anyone who saw that report couldn’t fail to grasp the horror of the Syrian conflict. The following day Marie lost her own life as she tried to flee from the relentless bombardment of the Syrian city of Homs.
As for our very own Bermudian heroines, there are many and any list is bound to get the reaction “yeah but what about….?” So bearing in mind that all lists are subjective, here’s a salute to some fantastic women achievers on the island.
• Esther Young: After her teenage daughter, Jessie, had both kidneys removed, Esther gave her child the most precious gift she could – one of her own kidneys. Recently mother and daughter travelled to Boston and Esther’s kidney was removed and transplanted into young Jessie. An inspirational story showing the bond of love between mother and daughter.
• Quinnae Outerbridge and Kyrah Scraders: Fantastic teenage runners who have already made their mark at a young age and are well on their way to even greater sporting achievements. They are both part of a highly talented group of young female Bermudian runners who are showing international promise.
• Sheelagh Cooper: Sheelagh has been at the forefront of child protection in Bermuda for many years and recently wrote a no holds barred piece about the life of Noet Barnett, gaoled for 25 years for shooting a friend. By doing this she didn’t excuse anything but instead put context to the tragedy. Sheelagh tells it like it is from the frontline of child protection and when she speaks people take notice.
• Twanee Butterfield: This talented young island singer has been performing since the tender age of 7 and you can hear some of her latest songs on YouTube. Twanee has been the opener for international performers including Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys.
• Bermuda’s female politicians: Okay, our women politicians of whatever persuasion do not always get a great press but let’s face it, politics is a tough game and anyone who goes into it knows what to expect. So to those - — far too few — women who do take up the challenge in Bermuda, here’s to having the guts and determination to give it a go.
• Lucinda Spurling: Film maker Lucinda’s searing documentary, Poverty in Paradise – The Price We Pay, stays in the mind long after you have watched it. It’s never easy to take on the bigger social issues but Lucinda’s film is unflinching and powerful. If you haven’t yet seen it, try to do so.
• Krystal Smith: A talented young dancer who gained a much valued associate place with the Welsh ballet company and is one of a band of talented Bermudian dancers out there strutting their amazing stuff. Watch as some of them make their mark on the international stage.
• Jana Outerbridge: Jana represented Bermuda in last year’s Miss World pageant. Whether you like these contests or not, you’ve got to admire her get up and go when she took to Bermuda’s streets donning a dress made from newspapers and trash bags to raise funds for her trip to London. In the end AS Cooper came up trumps and donated some great outfits while the government put £1,500 towards her expenses.
• Ida James and PC Sandy Rowe. Sadly two women who made a big difference to the island but who are no longer with us. Ida James, a well respected social worker, died in particularly tragic circumstances after she was attacked in her own home. Barrister, Victoria Pearman, paid tribute to her in this newspaper, describing how Ida helped her get to where she is today. And PC Sandy Rowe-Campbell, a highly regarded police officer, died at a young age after serving with the Bermuda Police Service since 2007. Her packed funeral service was a testimony to the impact she made. Both may be gone but their influence lives on.
Finally, a mention for all you sassy women out there who make a huge difference every day in your working, family and community lives. You know who you are and there’s no doubt that when the going gets tough, we girls get going.
Maggie Fogarty is a Royal Television Society award winning TV producer and journalist currently living in Bermuda.