Article first published HERE
Women as magical conduits
From pre-colonial Anacaona to post colonial Catherine Flon, women have always played a central role in shaping the future of Haiti. Activists, artists, doctors, lawyers, engineers, storytellers, mayors, business-owners, teachers, architects, chefs, surgeons, musicians, tailors, scientists, dentists, agronomists, technologists. And so many other gists…..
Despite the complexities of our socio-economic architecture — that in many ways has shaped gender stereotypes, making it difficult for women to take on certain professions, and thrive in their own country — Haitian women are often described as the “Poto Mitan” (central pillars) of Haitian society.
“Poto Mitan”, a term derived from Vodou religion, is a sacred pillar that stands in the middle of the temple during a spiritual ceremony, and represents ‘the axis of the spiritual world, serving as a magical conduit between the world of the living and the world of the spirits’.
As the Poto Mitan of our families and communities, Haitian women throughout history have demonstrated monumental strength in the face of adversity, unwavering faith against the odds of marginalization, prejudice and discrimination, and most significantly, immortal resilience through various waves of natural and man-made disasters.
The Legacy of Women
From politics to diplomacy, urban design to tourism, education to healthcare, millions of Haitian women in Haiti and across the Diaspora are blazing new trails, modernizing old ones, building bridges and grooming new leaders.
As such, their activism and entrepreneurialism deserve to be recognized, amplified, and celebrated. However, in the case of emerging markets like Haiti, very few stories exist that illustrate the character, charisma, and courage of our women.
But we can change that.
Today, on international women’s day, I celebrate the boldness of our Haitian women in overcoming obstacles, speaking up for what they believe in, galvanizing their communities, pioneering new inventions, healing the sick, helping the poor, and most importantly, giving birth to the next generation of Nation Builders.
As an ecosystem architect, an artist, entrepreneur, and techie, there is no better way for me to celebrate others than by creating a platform that highlights their initiatives, praises their accomplishments, and illustrates their vision for Haiti.
These visions, that range from ‘Mobilizing Diaspora groups to engage in political advocacy’ to ‘Designing Cities for the future’ serve as building-blocks for transforming Haitian society
I invite you to celebrate with me, by sharing these stories and amplifying the voices of our modern day Poto Mitan.
Read more about these women and their Visions HERE
- Audrey Nicoleau: Mobilizing Diaspora groups to engage in political advocacy
- Joanne Antoine: Galvanizing women to join Government
- Kedenard Raymond: Reflecting a robust Human Capital Development agenda
- Rebecca Obonou: Investing in rural entrepreneurs
- Santra Denis: Bolstering civic engagement in the Diaspora
- Tara Arthur: Broadening Perceptions through Martial Arts
- Tatiana Mora-Liautaud: Empowering the next generation of digital storytellers
- Vanessa Leon: Designing Cities for the future
- Wen-Kuni Ceant: Driving Millennial participation in Politics
Stepping into the Future
Over the next few months, the platform will evolve to include the vision of other women and men from across Haiti and the Diaspora, who are engaged in building ventures, projects, initiatives, and tools that support the development of Haiti’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. As much a work of art as it is a tool for building the ecosystem, this platform will serve to showcase how proactive Haitians are towards shaping the destiny of Haitian civilization.