Featured Storyteller

JAMAICA: What Gives Me Hope

Jean Forbes
Posted December 21, 2018 from Jamaica

Inspired by a new generation of women who are standing up for their rights, Jean Forbes shares what keeps her going.

“We are sloughing our skin of meekness and subservience and saying enough!

What gives me hope?

What gives me hope is the number of women who are standing tall and demanding their right to be the best they can be, to utilize all of their God given talents.

What gives me hope is the number of women who are rejecting the ancient taboos that hold women hostage and cowering in terror.

My generation has realized that it is not only women who are held prisoner by societal attitudes the rules that dictate how each gender must behave, the rules that deem one sex greater than the other, have doomed both sexes to a lifetime of unhappiness. For, unhappy men—unable to live up to unrealistic macho standards—lose their humanity to alcohol and violence and doom women to a lifetime of cowering and fear.

What gives me hope is that today’s generation of women are coming out of the mind-numbing corners of illiteracy and poverty. We are sloughing our skin of meekness and subservience and saying enough!

No more will we cower in the anger and resentment that comes from accepting the bonds of societal norms.

No more will we stay in this box that forbids us from chasing our dreams and from loving ourselves so that we can love others. We will reach out for the happiness we deserve.

We are demanding fulfillment as part of our human rights, written or not. As women, we are demanding the right to pause from the daily grind, to sit and ponder the joyous mysteries of life.

And in this safe and peaceful place, we are allowing the butterfly of happiness to flutter and for a time, to rest peacefully on our shoulders.

In the tranquility of these moments, this new generation of women is freeing men from chasing the ancient symbols of maleness that harm us all. There is hope now that we can find happiness in humanity, and we can triumph in the joy and peace that partnership and equality bring.

As humans we are not yet where we need to be, but each sunrise and each incremental step forward brings my generation and me the warmth of hope and belief in what is possible.


This story was published as part of the World Pulse Story Awards program. We believe every woman has a story to share, and that the world will be a better place when women are heard. Share your story with us, and you could be our next Featured Storyteller! Learn more.

Comments 8

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Dec 21, 2018
Dec 21, 2018

Congrats Aunty Jean on been an award winner :-).

Jill Langhus
Dec 22, 2018
Dec 22, 2018

Congrats, Jean, on winning the story award for your powerful and inspiring story! Looking forward to seeing more stories/posts from you:-) Hope you have a great day!

Marie Abanga
Dec 24, 2018
Dec 24, 2018

Congratulations Jean,

When I met the former PM of Jamaica in Brussels (Portia Simpson Miller), she gave me so much hope too with her aura. She gladly accepted to take a picture with me and even told me "relax girl" when she saw how nervous I was.

So happy to read your stories, it's like we all are one after all

Dec 25, 2018
Dec 25, 2018

Women are strong, delicate and beautiful, and this two traits put together makes them one of the most wonderful things that exists in this world. I dislike feminism and stereotypes about males; it is right to stand up for our rights and to build a happy and balanced world. These women are goddess.

Deborah Munyekenye
Dec 29, 2018
Dec 29, 2018


Dec 29, 2018
Dec 29, 2018

Thank you for your eloquent testimonial. I have great interest in Jamaica. We can all learn a lot from your country.

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 29, 2018
Dec 29, 2018

Hi Jean,
Powerful words, beautifully written. It is so true, we live now in times of great change, and the change is fuelled by women standing together and speaking out so strongly.

Jan 05, 2019
Jan 05, 2019

So very good. I liked your insight. I am Jamaican too.