Alain Bertrand’s Top-10 Women of the Year 2013

MY TOP 10 WOMEN of  2013

While the curtains fall on 2013, I wish to reiterate my pleasure to list 10 women who have marked my spirits, here in Mauritius. This year, they are 11 to occupy 10 seats. Late, last weeks of 2013’s events have modified what I would have called an ordinary “cru”… an ordinary year. Globally, we mostly watched the awakening of Mauritian women being confirmed. There are healthy signs of them taking the lead with words, interviews and in one case, with silence. From my point of View, Mauritian Women will be decisive in 2014. Their role, in the coming year that could see snap elections being organized during late first semester, will be determinant.

Two foreigners stand in this year’s list. They could both have won the first place.


My Mum… your Mum… his Mum… her Mum

Definitely the most courageous of women. Where my ex-wives had failed and gave away, she stood strong, unflinchingly supporting me, in my buoyant thrive for a better Mauritius.  I just can imagine what that could ever be with such an encouraging mum in each and every Mauritian home.


Dorine Chuckory - #9 Alain Bertrand Top Women of 2013Dorine Chuckowry – Another Woman making history

This MMM Councilor became, on the 26th of December 2013, the first Mauritian woman to be granted the title of Key Keeper of our capital city, Port Louis. For the first time in whole Mauritius history, will a local woman hold the office of Lord Mayor of Port Louis. Dorine Chuckowry thus, makes national History… but not only! She officially opens a new chapter on the growing place of Mauritian women in Politics. The doors are now open for the so-said weaker sex to become potential Chief Justices, Prime Ministers or Presidents. Only for this, she deserves to be in my list.


Stéphanie Baumert - #8 Alain Bertrand Top Women of 2013Stephanie Baumert – New, Fresh, Witty… What else ?

She’s new, she’s fresh… I discovered this witty Germany-based Mauritian lady, only this year.  I understand she works for one of, if not, the most influential press group in the country. What made her stand out this year is her gutsy freedom that gets her to write without concession and ignite discussions all over the Mauritian Social Networks.


Meghna Raghoobar - #7 Alain Bertrand's Top Women of 2013Meghna Raghoobar – Our future goes ensured

Meghna represents the upcoming new breed of Mauritian female charismatic decision makers. Strong in ambition, the Global Shaper representative remains a soft-hearted local desi girl with dreams of bringing change into our multicultural social setup. She is bound to become an unavoidable brilliant brain on Mauritius’ path towards a better future.



Josie Lebrasse - #6 Alain Bertrand Top Women of 2013Josie Lebrasse – Discreetly punchy

For my part little is known of talented journalist Josie Lebrasse, except for her punchy words in Le Mauricien Daily columns. The 2010-appointed Editor-in-Chief for weekly Week-End, never leaves readers indifferent. She ignites reflection and bestows objective self opinion-making as one way to emerge from the recurring drama of social injustice. Often shouted upon by the political class, she represents the feminine whimsical resistance and fine analytical force of the Local Press sector.



Melinda Gates - #5 Alain Bertrand Top Women of 2013Melinda Gates – About changing the course of poverty

49 year-old philanthropist, computer scientist Melinda co-runs the Gates Foundation alongside her husband Bill. The Gates couple has been busy for the last twenty years at trying to making the World a better place, tackling daunting problems like polio, malaria and domestic education, with financial injections of the order of 3.4 Billion USD for this year alone.
She initiated family planning programs for African women while aiming to tackle the problem of yearly 200 million unintended pregnancies across the world, especially in developing countries.
The Mother of three is one of the most respected philanthropists in modern history. She incarnates the strong woman who stands by her man’s side, while he does his job. But in her case, she will be especially remembered as one woman who employed the bulk of their fortune to change the course of global health and malnutrition and above all, that of Poverty around the World.


Roshni Mooneeram - #4 Alain Bertrand's Top Women of 2013Roshni  Mooneeram – The right to go against the flow

Dr. Mooneeram came out of the blue this year… The fierce advocate of Mauritian Creole Language Back from her University days in the UK and China mainly. She landed back to her homeland, where she hopes bringing the unique Mauritian lifestyle into the social build up of her children. She caught everybody’s attention with her first press interview. Her sharp true words about hegemonic political power triggered the anger of the very few Mauritians who live by such destructive principles and yet she stood ground while delivering messages about the real possibilities of attaining real sustainability via tolerance.
Her desire to be politically free, got me to imagine her as the Next Prime Minister of Mauritius. The visual poll on Facebook spoke for itself.  To my eyes she is that very kind of Mauritian who has a leading role in the making of a better Mauritius.



Anshika Sawaram - #3 Alain Bertrand's Top Women of 2013Anshika Sawaram – Stubborness pays always

Jovial 22-yr old local activist’s place in this list is no mystery. Anshika was there too last year and she has all my respect for her unflinching positioning and incorruptible stands. Her activist year has been rich and constant. Her relentless presence on the terrain, even if not mediatized as should be, has been valuable while her opinions on Social Networks have triggered positively deep reflection and sometimes undeserved cheap, wordy hatred. She doesn’t leave anyone unconcerned. This year she has been uncompromisingly supporting the Arctic 30 from Greenpeace. This year again, Anshika Sawaram has shown dedication and unrivaled capacity at handling first aid and psychological assistance to inhabitants of Canal Dayot and of Anse Courtois in the wake of Black Saturday.
She showed her bravery and wits when she stood on a crane 50 mt above ground, shouting NO TO COAL. Her weight on the path to a better Mauritius is true and should be considered inspirational by all these young Mauritian women who crave for more social justice and sustainability.



Malala Yousafzai - #2 Alain Bertrand's Top 10 Women of 2013Malala Yousafzai – The will to live and do good

The 16-yr old Pakistani school girl could have been awarded this year’s Peace Nobel. It was a very near miss indeed. Like the close miss in October 9, 2012, when she almost lost her life on her road home from school. Some fanatical doomster sent three bullets into her body, one of which reached her head. And yet!
Malala fought her way back to become a living icon in the fight for a better World. In fact, she says that the awakening had started very early when she, as a very young child, wrote a letter to God, the day she discovered children playing on a garbage dump.

“Give me strength and courage,” she already then pleaded. “I want to make this world perfect.”

Under her pen name Gul Makai, she documented her life under theTaliban, giving blunt and comprehensive accounts of her daily doings, despite serious threats and warnings.
Her contribution as a teen goes well beyond the status of her age. She spoke across Pakistan, talking about the importance and benefits of education for young girls and women. She won her country’s National Peace Prize, helped rebuilding schools, presented children’s grieves to the Prime Minister and even turned her mother into learning to read and write. All this done with cool head and composure.

I told myself, I shall not wait for any prime minister—when I’m a politician, I will do these things myself.

In July 2013,at the UN, she coined the following phrase :

One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world.  

She then emphasized on the 66 million girls who are being denied basic education around the World.
Such sensitive and determined personality deserves to be singled out, magnified into the symbol of human compassion at its purest.


Shabnam Peerally and Joelle Malecaut - #1 Alain Bertrand's Top Women of 2013Shabnam Peerally & Joelle Malecaut – Speechless!

They stood together while their men were in prison suffering in silence from state repression.  While Joelle’s man, Nitin Chinien, got busted for having, to eyes of law, breached the ICTA act, Shabnam’s Jameel, flew to the former’s rescue, attempting to organize a peaceful legal rally in Port-Louis. This action earned the latter 8 days’ freedom denial and for Nitin it was even worse: 23 days captivity.
Joelle, new Mother of 7-month Luchmee and Shabnam, executive in an important parastatal body and Mother of three boys, teamed up, challengingly giving press conferences where they showed determination in their fight for justice, not only for their respective man, but also for all those Mauritians who have been in the face of cheap state repression.
Their common struggle is a very significant one. The fight for more justice and more democracy has been, for ages, Men stuff! This year, two Mauritian women flung themselves at leading posts and applied the necessary pressure.
They are my ex aequo women of the year in 2013 because through their unflinching determination, I saw the awakening of Mauritian women confirming its gathered momentum,  I saw the new mentality shift that will surely lead to Mauritian Women take greater parts in decision making, greater parts in political instances or social activism as leading models.  
This is a prelude to Women making sustainable changes in Mauritius soon!

To my eyes: Yes they can!

Related post :  Alain Bertrand’s Top 10 Women of 2012


  1. Stéphanie Baumert · December 29, 2013

    Merci Alain pour cet honneur! Keep it up pour faire de notre ile, une ile ou il fait bon à vivre, avec une éducation adéquate, un gouvernement à l’écoute de son peuple et une nature florissante. Bonne route à toi !

  2. AnshikaSawaram · December 31, 2013

    Women have learned the language of power, an add-on to their emotional fluency and the skills required for the survival of the family–but the cultural rewards for their twin efforts are slim indeed. Thank you Alain Bertrand for your kind thoughts and the honour given to women’s laborious role and functions not because it is minute..but because it is gigantic.

    Shab Peerally, Joelle Malecaut, Malala Yousafzai, Roshni Mooneeram, Melinda Gates, Meghna Raghoobar, Stephanie Baumert, Dorine Chukowry, Josie Lebrasse and to all incredible women, my salute 🙂

  3. AnshikaSawaram · December 31, 2013

    Reblogged this on AnshikaSawaram and commented:
    Women have learned the language of power, an add-on to their emotional fluency and the skills required for the survival of the family–but the cultural rewards for their twin efforts are slim indeed. Thank you Alain Bertrand for your kind thoughts and the honour given to women’s laborious role and functions not because it is minute..but because it is gigantic.

    Shab Peerally, Joelle Malecaut, Malala Yousafzai, Roshni Mooneeram, Melinda Gates, Meghna Raghoobar, Stephanie Baumert, Dorine Chukowry, Josie Lebrasse and to all incredible women, my salute 🙂

  4. meghna3108 · January 2, 2014

    Mauritius is part of my world and the world is my world … I take this opportunity to thank all the people out there who are working hard to bring a change in Mauritius and in some places of the world.Indeed Mauritius still needs to learn a lot from countries like Peru and the Nordic countries,for instance.The signing agreement for the coal plant made realized how behind we are still,and how much of more work is needed to improve things.

    As a researcher,I can do a lot of research on these issues but as a youth advocate on sustainable development,I firmly believe is it’s my duty and the duty of every young man and woman out there,to use their intelligence and improve things at their levels.The youth is the future and only YOU can be the change!

    I don’t know if the election will be this year or next year,I honestly want to find 50 percent of potential woman and young woman in the parliament soon.We have a lot of them…I have few other things to achieve for the next couple of years ,but for sure in some years I will be back to make more impact on this level .

    Happy New year everyone!

  5. Pingback: Alain Bertrand’s Top Women of 2014 | Through the Islander's Prism
  6. Pingback: Alain Bertrand’s Top Women of 2014 | Through the Islander's Prism

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