THE Business and Professional Women Club (BPW) of St Andrew launched the 'Treat Yuh Woman Nice' campaign at its annual candlelighting ceremony and post-Valentine affair held at the Medallion Hall Hotel on February 21.
The 'Treat Yuh Woman Nice' campaign was conceived with the objective of sensitising Jamaicans at all levels to the fact that each one has the power to make a difference as they shape attitudes and set standards for behaviour in the interest of growth, development and sustainability of the society.
The campaign also seeks to empower women to expect and demand to be treated with respect, not to compromise their dignity, to work at their business or profession with diligence, and to embrace opportunities for education and preparation to take up the mantle of leadership in the society.
The launch took place during a candlelight ceremony which marked worldwide recognition of business and professional women.
According to Lilieth Nelson, president of BPW St Andrew, the idea of the candlelighting ceremony was conceived by Dr Lena Madesin Phillips, who founded the organisation over 80 years ago, and each year this ceremony is held around the same time, by members on every continent.
"As we in Jamaica light a candle for clubs in each country, they light the candle for our country," Nelson said.
BPW St Andrew was founded on June 7, 1974 by attorney-at-law Mavis Watts and is an affiliate of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women, which has member and affiliate clubs in 108 countries in five continents.
Members represent a wide range of professions and businesses in Jamaica. Over the years, the club has spearheaded several projects and programmes aimed at empowering women and girls, by encouraging them to be as well trained as possible and to work for high standards of service.
Two of the aims and objectives of BPW are to "work for equal opportunities and the upgrading of the status of women in the economic, cultural and political life of Jamaica" and to "work for the removal of discriminatory practices against women in society".
In keeping with these objectives, BPW launched the Jamaica Women's Political Caucus in 1992, an entity which has been training women for leadership in the political sphere in Jamaica. BPW St Andrew also started the Elsie Bernard Home for Girls over 32 years ago, in collaboration with the Methodist church, and established the scholarship trust found which has, for over 11 years, provided financial assistance to girls in schools at the secondary level throughout the island.
The 'Treat Yuh Woman Nice' campaign is the third campaign organised by BPW St Andrew. 'Excellence in the Workplace' was launched in 1986, while 'Don't Dis Discipline' was launched in 1991.
Nelson said both have proven successful.
The current campaign will involve visibility in the media (print, television and radio); discussion sessions with senior students in schools at the secondary level; distribution of printed publicity materials aimed at businesses and professions; and a poster competition for students in schools at the primary level.