Film on Cayman’s suffragettes premieres

| 03/04/2017
CNS Local Life

Gender Affairs Minister Tara Rivers

(CNS Local Life): The Ministry of Gender Affairs will be screening the premiere of Her Story is Our History: The Women’s Suffrage Movement in the Cayman Islands on 6 April 2017. The public is invited to attend the viewing of the 22-minute documentary, which tells the story of the courageous women who signed petitions and demanded a voice and place in politics.

As the 60th anniversary of the 1957 petition approaches and with it being an election year in Cayman, the ministry said in a press release it believed that this was an opportune time to release the documentary that is meant to educate and inspire generations to come.

Whirlybird Productions created the film, produced in partnership with the Cayman Islands National Archive (CINA), which supplied information and images. The film reminds viewers of the journey the women embarked on in their struggle towards gender equality and it is hoped it will encourage citizens not to take the right to vote for granted.

The ministry’s Gender Affairs Unit (GAU) also envisioned the film not only becoming a historical record of the women’s suffrage movement in the Cayman Islands, but also an educational tool for discussing issues such as gender discrimination, democracy and human rights.

Minister of Gender Affairs Tara Rivers, who commissioned the film as a part of the GAU’s strategic objectives, spoke of the legacy of these women’s achievements and the movement towards gender equality. “I know I would certainly not be in this position, as a minister in the government, if had it not been for those brave women who came before me, who fought for the right to vote and equal participation in the political process, in recognition of their intrinsic human right to do so,” she said, noting she specially invited the petitioners and their families to the premiere.

She added it is hoped the film educates the public on Cayman’s unique suffrage movement and inspires participation in civic movements that can effect positive change in the Cayman Islands.

The event, which comprises the film and some performance pieces, offers an opportunity to connect with the petitioners and their families in appreciation of what they did. Guests will able to view a display that features framed copies of the original signed petitions showing every woman’s signature.

J. Kimlon Lawrence, Director of the National Archive, discussed the documents and their place in history. “In 1957, the historical records show that 358 women from different areas within Grand Cayman stood together on the foundations paved by the 1948 petition to exercise the right to vote and hold public office. These courageous women had the foresight to ride the wave of constitutional change in the British West Indies, which has paved the way for many today,” he said.

“The historical collection held under National Archive’s custodianship, provides documentary evidence that captures a snapshot of the women’s suffrage movement, thereby demonstrating a democratic process of Government’s interactions with its people. These documentary sources allows us to gain a holistic understanding of our past, a sense of our present, and helps us to navigate our future.”

Tammy Ebanks, Acting Deputy Chief Officer and Senior Policy Officer for Gender Affairs, said, “I trust that the film is able to preserve this key milestone in our history in the words of some of the surviving women who lived during that time of struggle towards gender equality. The willingness of those Caymanian women to individually and collectively take a chance and push the envelope further has made the road a little bit easier for those of us who came behind them, and for that we all should be grateful.

“Whether it is our ability to access higher education or obtain financial independence, the girls and women of today reap the benefits of the persevering spirit of the Caymanian women of yesteryear.”

The ministry used national records to determine the surviving signatories of the 1948 and 1957 petitions to invite them to this event. Efforts were also made to invite representatives of deceased petitioners.

The event, which is free, will take place at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort from 6:30pm-8:30pm, but a ticketing system is being utilised to account for seating; attendance will not be allowed without a reserved ticket, which needs to be booked by Tuesday, 4 April. Ticketing priority is being given to petition signatories and their representatives or families.

For more information or to book a ticket, visit the Gender Equality Cayman Islands website or call 244-3226 or 244-3150

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Category: Film

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