PORTIA Simpsonmiller First Female Prime Minister of Jamaica The honorable Simpson-Miller is currently serving her second term as head of state in Jamaica. The first female Prime Minister of Jamaica has made her second act worthwhile by leading a national cleanup effort meant to combat mosquito breeding sites that spread the Chikungunya virus. Miller has also expanded IT centers, which offer skills training, to 182 around the island to complete the ‘Youth Employment in Digital and Animation Project,’ a $20 million initiative designed to boost entrepreneurship and access to the latest technology for young people. Miller, nicknamed “Sista P” has had a long-ranging political career that spans positions as Minister of Defense, Minister of Labor and Minister of Tourism. The wife of Errald Miller, former CEO of Cable & Wireless Jamaica, is the second person to serve nonconsecutive terms as prime minister, behind Michael Manley. BARBARA LEE Congresswoman of 13th District in California Barbara Lee is the first woman to represent California’s 13th District. In her pioneering role, the congresswoman has championed diversity legislation (e.g., the United States Caribbean Educational Exchange, a program allowing Caribbean students to study in the U.S.). In 2005, the Congresswoman pushed through a bill recognizing June as Caribbean-Heritage Month to honor the contributions Caribbean-Americans offer the U.S. The Texas native and mother of two grown sons, received national attention as the only member of Congress to vote against military force in the wake of 9/11. Last year, Congresswoman Lee became chair of a task force on poverty. The bill is in limbo and aims to raise awareness for impoverished Americans and develop solutions to address their needs. POTENT Magazine | THIRTEEN
GIRLYN MIGUEL First Female Deputy Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Nearly four years ago, Girlyn Miguel was sworn in as the first woman Deputy Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Miguel also serves as the Minister of Education. She had a 30-year career as an educator and principal before entering politics in the late ‘90s— winning the Marriaqua constituency. Soon after she ascended to Minister of Social Development, Cooperatives, the Family, Gender and Ecclesiastical Affairs, and two years later she was appointed Minister of Agriculture, followed by her current role as Minister of Education. DONNA CHRISTENSEN First Female Doctor Serving in U.S. Congress The Virgin Islands native is used to making headway in unfamiliar territory as the first woman (non-voting) Delegate to Congress from the U.S. Virgin Islands and first woman physician that served in U.S. Congress. Christensen started her medical career as an ER doctor then maintained a private practice up until her congressional election in 1996. Among her many glass-ceiling breaking achievements is being the first Delegate to serve on Congress’ committee on Energy and Commerce and subcommittees on Health. Christensen gave up her congressional seat this year to run for Governor of the Virgin Islands, but was defeated by Kenneth Mapp in a runoff this past November.