Mia Mottley’s life story buttresses the fact that women are defiling the norm and blazing the trail, even in a somewhat patriarchal society.
Born into a family of successful leaders, she was certainly familiar to leadership. Her father Eliott Deighton Mottley was a barrister who sat in the House of Assembly, albeit for a relatively short time before vacating the seat to become consul-general in New York. He married Mia’s mother, Santa Amor Tappin in December 1964 just three years after being called to the Bar and was elected to represent Bridgetown (Bardados) in May 1969.
One of the most interesting things about Mia’s family is that the responsibility of leadership seems to be saddled upon every member from one generation to the other. She is the granddaughter of Ernest Deighton Mottley (1907–1973), a real estate broker and successful politician particularly at the parish level. He was the first Mayor of Bridgetown (1959) who had represented Bridgetown in the House of Assembly from 1946. He also belonged to the conservative party and helped the poor. Ernest Deighton Mottley was granted the ‘Ordinary Commanders of the Civil Division’ for public services in Barbados in June 1962, he also assisted Wynter Algermon Crawford (1910–1993), Barbados’ Trade Minister, at the Independent Conference in London during June and July 1966.
Mia Mottley was educated at Merrivale Preparatory School. She also attended the United Nations International School (New York), and Queen’s College (Barbados). By 1986, Mottley finalized her training as attorney and received a law degree from the London School of Economics (Houghton Street, London, England).
Being highly influenced by her family, Mottley first entered Barbadian politics in 1991 when, running on a Barbados Labor party (BLP) ticket. Regardless of losing the election race between herself and the late Leroy Brathwaite, she still did not lose her desire to exhibit the innate outstanding leadership attributes which she possessed. In September 1994, at age 29, Mottley became one of the youngest Barbadians ever to be assigned a ministerial portfolio as she was appointed to the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Culture.
In August 2001, She was appointed Attorney-General and Minister of Home Affairs, blazing the trail of being the first female (in Barbados) to hold this position and the youngest ever Queen’s Counsel in Barbados. In addition to being a Member of the Privy Council of Barbados, she was Leader of the house and a member of the National Security Council and the Barbados Defense Board.
She is also credited with being the visionary behind the Education Sector Enhancement Program, popularly known as “Edutech”, which aims to increase the number of young people contributing to the island’s sustainable social and economic development. It is no doubt that her consistent desire to ensure a better life for the people around her, placed her on this high pedestal of leadership.
In 2008, Mottley became the leader of the BLP, following the party’s defeat in the elections and the subsequent resignation of the then party leader, Owen Arthur. She became not only the first woman to lead the party but also the leader of the opposition, after she was sworn in February 2008. However, her position as leader of the opposition was revoked two years later after a vote of no-confidence against her.
The position reverted to former party leader Arthur. Just recently, this outstanding trailblazer gained another feat which made history, when she was elected to the position of the first-ever woman prime minister in Barbados.
Mia modestly accredits this victory to the people of Barbados.
Examining the leadership traits of Mia Mottley and her consistent push to remain a significant representative of women in leadership, reiterates the fact that a woman is only limited by what she allows to limit her.
Mottley’s example urges women to soar.