Alain Bertrand - Top 10 Women of the Year

Alain Bertrand’s Top Women of 2014

TOP 10 WOMEN of  the Year, Through the Islander’s Prism

Here we go again… with much pleasure and pride… again… as I go up through my 2014 timelines, to set up the Hit Parade of those Women who made my year. Here’s the 3rd season.

2014? Oh What a Year!

If in Mauritius, the fight for more justice and more democracy has been, for ages, men stuff, this year, things looked different! Seemed like the mentality shift is operating in the right direction… towards Mauritian Women taking their rightful place in the Power roll.

This year was really exceptional, given the role our women played in Local Politics. This confirms what I already noticed last year : The Awakening of Mauritian Women, who are taking a better share of political Leadership in Mauritius and who are becoming decisive elements of change. This year’s General Elections enhanced all that.

Talking about General Elections, the final choice in 2014 has been made more complicated, as places were limited. If I had the means to squeeze more names in a Top 10, I would have added Geeta Seechurn, Marie Paule Ah Qune, Geraldine Francois-Col, Shevrine Suthanah of Union Populaire, Malini Poonoosamy-Sungelee, Sajidah Baurtaully of Parti Justice Sociale, Priscilla Sambadoo of Ralliement Citoyen pour la Patrie. These young women showed outstanding courage, when they decided to take part into the General Elections, for the very first time, outside mainstream political parties. They showed, beyond being responsible daughters, wives and mothers, indefectible commitment and absolute abnegation when they had to do their door-to-door campaign within very hostile environments sometimes, with limited resources.

2014 ? Women-led activism at its best!

But there hasn’t been for politics only! We experienced rejuvenation of the Feminist position and a real shift towards better balance in gender equality at global levels. We saw young women take gigantic challenges as entrepreneurs and as youth boosters. We lost some of them on the way, but remembering them for what they stood for, is the right way to pay tribute and have their memories live on.

Tah Tah Taaaah… And NOW… my TOP 10 Women of the Year 

#10 – My Mum…

 Your Mum… His Mum… Her Mum

Tribute to one of my best fans.

Almost 80 year-old Jacqueline has been most supportive when I decided to enroll into Politics, this year. She stood strong, unflinchingly supporting me, in my buoyant thrive for a better Mauritius, while others often tried to discourage me.

But I guess I’m not the only one to have such a Mum. We all have one. I just can imagine one… in each and every home. RESPECT Ladies !

#9 – Maya Hanoomanjee 

maya_hanoomanjeeAgainst all Odds, She’ll be making History!

Former 2010 Minister of Health reaches one of the most prominent parliamentarian functions. For the first time ever, in our democratic History, will a woman hold the seat of the Leader of the National Assembly of Mauritius. As such she is writing a new chapter in the growing place of Women on the Mauritian political chess-board. Even if Maya Hanoomanjee still carries the stigmas of a turncoat, to me, she deserves to be mentioned in this Top 10.

#8 – Ameenah Gurib-Fakim 

ameenah-gurib-fakimPromises of an Historical Turning Point.

Ameenah Gurrib-Fakim is to become the first Woman President of the Republic of Mauritius. World renowned Researcher in Phyto-science, holder of a Phd in Chemistry, Ameenah Gurrib-Fakim is ranked as one of the topmost Global Shapers by the very serious Muslim Science Website.

To me, she represents the promise of further democratization of the local power sphere as well as that of the implementation of a serious National R&D policy that would take Mauritius to another level of development.

She just might be President of a democratic state during the same year as Hilary Clinton… Who knows? Mauritians could go no prouder 🙂

#7 – Valérie Sénèque 

Valerie SenequeFighter till the End.

As often the case, the valor and courage of a citizen come to life only at his/ her death. The loss of Valérie Sénèque got my eyes to open wider upon the role of these women who discreetly do their things while in pain. Diagnosed from Metastasized breast cancer at the age of 40, the LCC (Loretto Convent of Curepipe) teacher relentlessly fought back while giving tremendous support to other cancer-struck patients. She even recorded a song called Kanser along with talented Black Men Blues leader, Zulu. She died this year, leaving a precious fighter’s legacy that needs to be nurtured, taught and enhanced, at all times.

 #6 – Irene Li 

Irene_LiThe International voice of the Occupy Central, Hong-Kong Protest. 

Whenever we heard news about what was happening in the streets of Hong-Kong this year, this 18 year-old Hongkonger was behind the scene. Irene Li Jia-ying has been named the “Citizen Journalist” of the Occupy Central movement. She took part in it and documented the protest in Hong-Kong, all through.

She started the group called “Translating the Umbrella Movement” with some friends, a few days after the police fired tear gas to try to disperse protesters.

Irene Li’s group took the responsibility of translating comments and information from Cantonese into English, thus giving the most accurate insight to foreign Media who flew in swarm in Hong-Kong this year. As such, she pioneers a new form of citizen-based unbiased information-making, which is bound to grow with Social Media’s inflating influence.

#5 – Emma Watson 

Emma-Watson« If not me, then who? If not now, then when? »

These questions will resonate for some time in and outside the United Nations Conference Hall. That was where, 24 year-old Emma “Hermione Granger” Watson probably delivered one of the most powerful messages, of all times, about Gender Equality, at the launching of the HeforShe UN Campaign, back in September this year.

The young United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador has set her mark in the way modern Feminism is to be perceived in the years to come.

Harry Potter’s Hermione was voted top feminist of the year in a poll by Ms. Foundation for Women and Cosmopolitan for her work towards gender equality, ahead of VIPs like Beyonce, Laverne Cox and Meryl Streep amongst others.

#4 – Ameeksha Dilchand 

Mother Supranational !mmdh7d

She was here… at this very spot, two years ago, coined as the Perfect Ambassadress. In 2014 she’s back, not for the same reasons, even if I still believe that beauty queen Ameeksha is one these young Mauritian ladies packed with what I dare to call “Valeurs du Mauriciannisme” (values of the Mauritian way of Life).

This year, she is one of my top 10 women of the year because she has demonstrated her capacities as a stubborn and fearless entrepreneur, with the organisation of Miss SupraNational Mauritius 2014, regardless of all kinds of obstacles that still lie on her path. Knowing her, she’ll recoil and bounce back.

Furthermore this talented young lady has been showing compassion all through the year, helping out for the betterment of some Non-Governmental programs and of other vulnerable groups of Mauritian citizens.

#3 – Roshni  Mooneeram  

Roshni MooneeramThe right to go against the flow… part 2…

She was already at this spot last year. This year, Roshni Mooneeram proved to be a courageous Mauritian woman who ferociously dipped into general elections with her newly-created political party, Ensam Nu Kapav.

In-line with her initial beliefs about ending hegemonic political power, she campaigned almost on her own for the last General Elections. Roshni and Ensam Nu Kapav proved to be excellent Social Media communicators and community managers as they reached thousands of locals, on subjects such as sustainability and political righteousness. Her participation as a candidate in my voting ward got her to earn 4.1% of the polls, which indeed represents the perfect step-stone to a brilliant political future.

To my eyes Roshni Mooneeram still is that very kind of Mauritian who has a leading role in the making of a better Mauritius.

#2 – Sheila Bunwaree 

Sheila BunwareeNot here to Quit !

I will sound biased of course, setting Sheila Bunwaree at spot 2, but beyond the political fellow, lies a Mauritian woman with powerful political opinion and beliefs… a fearless leader.

The Phd holding professor is a well-known figure within the South-Sahelian Political Scientist sphere and is recognized for her works on poverty from a feminist perspective.

The great things about this lady are, the straightness of her positions, the sacredness of her definition of personal sacrifice and the positive energy she is always willing to engage, when fighting for the greater good.  All this was on demo while she was campaigning for the last General Elections, with her 4-month old Political Party, Parti Justice Sociale (PJS). Sheila Bunwaree formed the PJS after resigning from the prestigious position she held at the University of Mauritius, where she was teaching sociology and political science. She led a 20-candidate list into this year’s General Elections, of which 35% were Women.

Sheila Bunwaree came out of General Elections with a little more than 7% polls in Constituency 20, which is a tremendous achievement given the difficulties of campaigning, during less than 60 days, with limited resources.

#1 – Nadine Ramsamy 

Nadine Ramsamy« Social work and the love of sharing came naturally to me… »

28 year-old Bharat Nathyam degree-holding teacher is another living proof that “Les Valeurs du Mauriciannisme” (values of the Mauritian way of Life), is not a myth and that “Metissage” is not just another empty word.

What a girl indeed! Nadine Ramsamy is a prolific dancer/ choreographer, a social activist and has that discreet force that shines through her determination at empowering youth, through arts and culture. This year has been her year.

She is a multi-faceted talent who believes that empowering youth through Arts and Culture is the right path towards global social betterment. She manages to gift that Feel-Good factor to a still growing number of local youngsters, throughout activities that encompass values of sustainability, health and service. And this is doing good to the country.

This year, one of her main achievements has been the “Jam for Unity Movement“, an ongoing program where youngsters are invited to express themselves through music, singing and dance, all through the year. She also set up, with some friends, the “No Cigarette Butts” campaign, in January this year where more than 3000 awful cig-butts were retrieved from the beach in Flic en Flac.

The best part of this young promising Mauritian Woman,  is her sense of humility and her positive stubbornness, beyond discouraging comments and recurrent downgrading of social activism in Mauritius. What she represents to me, can be summed up as Grace, Smile and Unity. For that, Nadine Ramsamy commands respect.

She should be encouraged and granted with more resources to engage into national initiatives.

Now, if you do have your Women of the Year 2014 to add to this list, feel free to insert her name in a comment therein, while telling us why.

Related post :

The PinBoard

Alain Bertrand’s Top 10 Women of 2012

Alain Bertrand’s Top 10 Women of 2013

Daily Mail’s Top list of women who have changed the world

Women Leaders | 20 Women Who Are Changing the World 

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