Women can be superheroes too, and Erin Brown, Christine Campbell, Missouri Sherman-Peter, and Therena Cunningham are superwomen in their own right. They are the role models that future female leaders need to look up to and see that they can be anything they can dream of. Their personal stories ring of courage, empowerment, selflessness and determination.
Since 2012, the United Nations has observed the International Day of the Girl Child. The day is set aside to celebrate the girl as a valuable part of society.
This year, the United States Embassy hosted a panel discussion at the American Corner of the Harry C. Moore Library at The College of The Bahamas. Participants included young ladies from Bethel Baptist Church and from local Girl Guides and Brownies organizations. During the forum, the young girls got an opportunity to meet Bahamian women leaders who have broken the glass ceiling and have made an indelible impact in the country.
They met motivational speaker Erin Brown, an athlete who wears a prosthetic leg, who is training for a triathlon, an event for which she will have to swim, run and cycle.
Brown was diagnosed with bone cancer when she was 23 and had her leg amputated in 2004. Since then, Erin has travelled extensively as a motivational speaker using her experience to provide support and create awareness for persons living with and affected by disabilities.
A. Missouri Sherman-Peter, the 2013 recipient of the United States Embassy’s prestigious Woman of Courage award and former co-chair of the Inter-Ministry Trafficking in Persons committee, has lived and worked in over 100 countries. As a former employee of the United Nations, she has represented The Bahamas at various international conferences. She encourages young ladies to see the possibilities that exist beyond their islands.
Christine Campbell, officer-in-charge of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, and U.S. State Department alumnus, stressed the importance of courage and confidence, deeming them two of the best qualities a woman could have.
Therena Cunningham, also a state department alumnus, serves as president of S.T.R.A.W. Inc., a non-profit organization for young ladies that promotes empowerment and self-esteem. Her advice was simple: “Pursue your dreams … find one thing that you are good at and be better at it than anyone else.”
Following a dynamic discussion, the panelists and young female participants engaged in an interactive question and answer session.