Ms. Shirley Pryce, a veteran advocate for Domestic workers right, motivational speaker and an “example of women’s empowerment”, joins the rank of some of the Caribbean’s most excellent and exemplary, courageous, committed and creative women. She is the recipient of the Twelfth Triennial Award for Women and, understandably, the conferral, is one of the signal highlights of the livestreamed, official opening of the Thirty-Eighth Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government, taking place in Grenada from 4-7 July 2017.
A Domestic Worker herself for 31 years, she has led the way in changing the situation of domestic workers nationally, regionally and internationally and today, she is described as “one of the most outstanding Domestic Workers leaders in the world”. In her journey, she established and continues to preside over the first-ever domestic workers union in Jamaica, the Jamaican Household Workers Union (formally titled Jamaican Household Workers Association) that currently represents 58,000 Domestic workers . She is also a Board Member of the Association of Women’s Organisation of Jamaica (AWOJA) A true Caribbean woman, she is also, Founder of the Antigua Domestic Workers’ Association, as well as Founder and President of the Caribbean Domestic Workers Network.
Internationally , she is an elected Board Member of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and a member of the Caribbean Advisory Group to the United Nations Women and Gender Issues.
In her capacity as President of the Caribbean Domestic Workers Network, she has created awareness and sensitised policy makers to the ILO Convention (No. 189); advocating for its ratification. In this context, in 2013, Guyana became the ninth country and the first in the Caribbean to do so. This Convention and its accompanying Recommendation (No201), both adopted in 2011, guarantee minimum labour protections to Domestic workers. Being the first international labour standards specifically devoted to Domestic workers, they bring these workers under the umbrella of labour law. (ILO, 2013).
Ms. Pryce’s work and programmes in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean supported by international Development partners (IDPs) including the ILO, UN Women, the Federick Stiftung (FES), have addressed Domestic workers in the areas of capacity building, advocacy, economic empowerment,, labour and gender-based violence.
She has worked along with the Caribbean Policy Development Centre in Barbados in several Caribbean islands to educate Domestic workers on how to access employment and other opportunities through the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.
She was also part of the Jamaica Non-Governmental Organisation team that wrote and presented the alternate report on the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) at the United Nations.
Ms. Pryce’s journey has been a long one of political commitment for women’s human and civil rights and for making gender democracy a reality. Along the way this untiring champion, ever committed to the pursuit of excellence and growth, achieved in 2011 a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the Jamaica Theological Seminary; and in 2016 An Advanced Masters’ Degree in Labour Law and Global Workers’ Rights from the , Pennsylvania State University, USA.
She is the recipient of several awards including the Badge of Honour for meritorious service to Jamaica (2006), First Caribbean Bank Unsung Heroes Award ( 2007); and the Order of Distinction (Jamaica) for outstanding contribution in working with Domestic workers in the Caribbean (2015); and the Bureau of Women’s Affairs Award for outstanding contribution to initiative focused on sensitizing the public on gender-based violence in Jamaica.
The Caribbean Community celebrates this distinguished daughter and is pleased to formally record her footprints in the annals of Caribbean integration.