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Women belong at New Bedfords Feast of the Blessed Sacrament: A call for inclusion

As an Azorean immigrant who grew up on Davis Road, the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, or Madeira Feast as lots of of us know it, was and however stays one particular of the ways that all of the Amarals, Mellos, Borges, and the relaxation of our very pleased stubborn good deal stay linked to our heritage. No, Madeira and the Azores Islands are not the very same, but we share pleasure in our Portuguese lifestyle. 

From my initially feast in 1984 to my most modern in 2023 I have seen the women in their smocks, or batas, operating in that early August heat planning for what will be four days where individuals from all around the state appear to enjoy all the stunning contributions that Madeira can make to our culture. I have fond recollections of viewing these women in the church, in the club, and in the barracas. But these same ladies who make this celebration happen are not allowed to serve on the Feast committee only simply because of their gender. 

As we wind down Women’s Record Month, it is disheartening to confront a stark reminder that gender inequality still persists in our modern society and in our yard. The conclusion to exclude a committed group of gals, which include former Metropolis Councilor Jane Gonsalves and legal professional Tara George, from serving on the Feast committee is a move backwards and perpetuates damaging stereotypes about women’s abilities.


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Some may argue that custom dictates the composition of the business and its committees, but tradition ought to hardly ever be an excuse for discrimination. Development and evolution are inherent to any vivid community, and that involves reassessing and difficult out-of-date practices. On the island of Madeira, women of all ages can and do serve in the leadership and preparing of their celebration. In 1998 the Clube S.S. Madeirense acknowledged the shortage of festeiros and amended their bylaws to allow for sons of moms, or adult men who were Madeiran on their maternal facet, to provide. But in 2024 women are continue to not permitted.

The women of all ages who want to serve are skilled, gifted, and like their heritage. They bring exclusive perspectives, abilities, and ordeals to the desk, enriching the final decision making system and ensuring that assorted voices are heard. And certainly, they can load a barrel of wine on to a dolly.

Denying gals the option to serve on the committee sends a damaging information to the young women and gals in our group. It tells them that their contributions are not valued and that their aspirations are constrained by their gender. We owe it to future generations to make a change.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a winner of gender equality, stated “Women belong in all areas in which selections are getting designed. It shouldnt be that ladies are the exception.” These terms resonate powerfully now as we advocate for the inclusion of women in all factors of modern society, together with the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament. Allows heed the words of Ginsburg and guarantee that girls are an integral section of shaping our collective foreseeable future. It is time to make space at the arranging table, and at the barracas, for everybody.

Carmen Amaral is board president of Women’s Fund SouthCoast.

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