The strength of a woman inspires

The Deputy Premier’s message
on the lawn of the Government Administration Building honouring women was one
of resilience and achieving in the face of adversity. 

Ditching her prepared speech, Juliana
O’Connor-Connolly shared her real-life experience of the challenges she has faced
as a women, telling the audience that only by working harder and longer
did she achieve her goals.

 “This is the time of telling
real stories for a practical application of the journey of a Caymanian woman
and for the opportunity to see when we are determined, resilient and trust in
God Almighty, there is nothing that can stop us,” she said. 

Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly was speaking
on International Women’s Day on Monday at a ceremony to mark the launch of Honouring
Women Month.

“As we embark on these economic
times, women will be called again to rise up out of their circumstance and
realise that, despite the challenges, we may be trodden down, but not defeated
if we can but understand the strength that lies within a woman.”

 At times becoming emotionally
charged; she spoke of being an abused woman.

She spoke of how she had to walk to
school with no shoes and no money to buy uniforms; of wanting to further her
studies overseas, but her father being the Caymanian they were in those days, was
hell bent on making sure she did not leave the safety of Cayman Brac; of
the time a policeman came to church to tell her that her son was

 “Through prayer and the help of God, any woman
in Cayman can do it; they only have to put their minds to it,” she said.

 She said those challenges could
have been a deterrence and hindrance, but instead she used them to inspire
her as she gave credit to other Caymanian women who had pushed her to

“When you make up your mind to do
anything, regardless of gender, but especially for woman who have to work a
little longer  and a little harder, you can do anything,”

She related other instances in her life
of successes, but stressed that no matter how high women rose, “the positions
ought not to get to our heads. The pursuit, the journey is not what is all
important; it is what you have set in your foundation and what you as women
make up your minds to.”

“I did not go about trying to
achieve it because I was a woman and demanding respect, I tried to pursue
education, I got my founding in God Almighty and I know there was no stopping
me,” she said.

 “Because I was a Christian
before a politician it matters not to me whether you are in the government, the
opposition, Jamaican or Honduran; what matters to me is that you are another
human and that we are here to make a difference,” she added.

Mrs O’Connor-Connolly said we have
but a short life-span and we are trustees; we are our brothers’ and sisters’
keepers and if we can change but one life while we are here below, then it
beholds us to be those conduits of change and channels of peace, prayer
warriors and hands that reach out and surprise the recipient.

Community Affairs Minister Mike
Adam said the theme recognises women who have broken gender barriers and
shattered glass ceilings and it was his hope as people celebrate the
accomplishments of these woman that the occasion would afford other woman the
opportunity to find the inspiration to energise themselves to choose the path
less travelled.

“Carve your own destiny and do not
let anyone stand in your way, I trust that young woman in our country too will
be inspired to leave their own mark in history and to continue the example set
by the women who came before them,” he said.

Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly, Sports
Coordinator Merta Day, ICCI President Elsa Cummings, Speakers of the House Mary
Lawrence, Edna Moyle and Sybil McLaughlin and others were honoured for their
significant contributions the development of this country.


Vanda Powery from the Department of Sports leads the sing of Cayman National Anthem.
Photo: Jewel Levy