(CNS Local Life): The Ministry of Gender Affairs hosted the premiere of Her Story is Our History: The Women’s Suffrage Movement in the Cayman Islands on 6 April 2017. The 22-minute documentary tells the story of the women who signed petitions and demanded a voice and place in politics. The film included interviews with Georgette Hurlston-Ebanks, signatory on the 1948 petition and Janilee Clifford, who signed the 1957 petition.
Women currently involved in politics or who are activists in the community were also interviewed, including Speaker of the House Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Gender Affairs Minister Tara Rivers, former MLA Lucille Seymour and women’s rights advocate Annie Multon. They spoke of what life was like when women had little say in the running of the country, and how the Caymanian environment changed once they were given the right to vote in elections and stand for public office.
Aquinnah Ebanks, a young feminist and aspiring politician, was also interviewed to provide a youthful perspective on the topics.
Five of the original signatories attended the premiere as well as many family members of these women and others who signed the petitions. At the event, the Cayman Islands National Archive organised a display of enlarged copies of every page of the petitions. People were able to see up close the signatures of the 24 women who signed the 1948 petition and the 358 women who signed the 1957 petition.
“Seeing the signatures on the petitions and meeting some of the original signatories at the premiere of Her Story is Our History was so inspiring,” said Rivers. “It was a true honour to fellowship with these courageous women, to celebrate them and thank them for what they did for women’s rights in the Cayman Islands.
“I am so pleased with how the documentary turned out, and I cannot thank the Gender Affairs Unit and the Cayman Islands National Archive enough for the work they put into this; and I sincerely thank Sean Bodden and his team from Whirlybird Productions who produced the video with such high quality and professionalism.
“This documentary has truly captured an important time in our people’s history and one which I want as many people as possible to see, so that they know and understand our history. I also hope that the documentary will encourage more people to get involved in promoting gender equality in the Cayman Islands and helping Cayman achieve it.”
The ministry will be hosting two additional viewings of the documentary as well as arranging for it to be shown in both government high schools on Grand Cayman. The first screening will be Saturday, 22 April at the Sir John A. Cumber Primary School hall, followed one week later at the Performing Arts auditorium at Clifton Hunter High School. Each screening will run from 6:30pm-8:30pm.