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HomeNewsArchivesBPW Marks 50 Years of Empowering Women

BPW Marks 50 Years of Empowering Women

Sandra Setorie, left, president of BPW, presents Delegate Donna M. Christensen with a plaque featuring the BPW emblem.The Business and Professional Women’s organization of St. Croix has been empowering women on St. Croix for 50 years. To celebrate, the group has marked the golden anniversary with special events throughout the year, including Sunday’s holiday champagne brunch, held Sunday at Pier 69 in Frederiksted.

The guest speaker, a powerful woman herself, was Delegate Donna M. Christensen. Christensen spoke to the two dozen people gathered about her work the past year in Washington and the latest on the health care reform legislation.

“My goal on the hill is the same as the goal of BPW – empowering women and empowering the community,” Christensen said.

She has served the territory in Washington, D.C. for 13 years, and said this year has outdone them all. She is on the Energy, Commerce, and Health committees, all working on major issues at this time. Christensen said her major concerns are focused on the family leave act and to make sure women get equal pay for equal work.

On healthcare reform, Christensen said getting the Virgin Islands in the exchange was a tough battle.

“The fight for the territory was hard because we don’t pay taxes and it costs too much,” Christensen said. “It is universal coverage and nobody is left out.”

She said big government is not taking over healthcare. The plan calls for 85 percent of health care premiums to go directly to health care – not big salaries and advertising. She added healthcare reform can lower premiums. She spoke about the number of people at the poverty level here and how they will benefit.

“Health is wealth, therefore we need to gain a bigger insight on how the healthcare reform affects our community,” said Sonia Boyce, past president of BPW.

Christensen spoke about five generations of women in her family being members of BPW including her grandmother Elena Christian.

When Gertrude Converse, who had been a member of the BPW in the U.S, relocated to St. Croix she introduced local professional women to the organization. In 1959 she invited them to start a local chapter. There were 37 original charter members consisting of prominent teachers, principals, and business women.

Janet Prince–Soto, a member since 1963, said being part of the organization over the years has benefited her as a business woman. She owned and operated beauty salons in Christiansted and Frederiksted, then went on to teach cosmetology at Central High School until she retired in 1994. She said she was treasurer of the organization a number of years.

“I got the feeling I needed to come to the luncheon today to hear about healthcare reform and how it affects the Virgin Islands,” Prince-Soto said.

The purpose of the organization is to empower working women to achieve their full potential and to partner with employers to build successful workplaces through education, research, and policy.

Keverine George, treasurer, said the group has 80 members on the roster but they are always looking for more.

Further info9rmation can be obtained by sending an e-mail to bpwstx@yahoo.com.

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