Published 8th March 2017, 6:49pm
To mark Honouring Women's Month and International Women's Day 2017 GIS invites you to travel back in time to revisit the Quincentennial Distinguished Women Awards (QDWA) brochure, published by the Women’s Resource
Centre in 2003.
The colour booklet outlines the lives and contributions of the five lady recipients – Olive Miller, MBE, Cert. Hon. JP; the late Annie Huldah Bodden, OBE; Frances Louise
Bodden, MBE, JP; Clara Editha Scott Leitch; and National Hero Mary Evelyn Wood, Cert.Hon.
Then Women's Minister Frank McField said at the time: “This publication serves as a vivid record of the outstanding work of these women,” said Dr. McField. “They are representative of our earlier history, when women played key
roles in working along with the men to maintain and develop the home, community and government – a tradition which still continues today.”
The production of the brochure was a collaborative effort between the Women’s Resource Centre and Government Information Services, with information provided by the Cayman Islands National Archives.
the achievements of these women as outlined in 2003 follow below.
BRIEF BIOS OF RECIPIENTS:
Annie Huldah Bodden, OBE (April 21, 1908 - June 15, 1989)
Annie Huldah Bodden, OBE, (known as Miss Annie) grew up in George Town. A few days before her 16th birthday, Miss Annie went to work for Mr. Edmund Samuel Parsons, a law agent and justice of the peace. She soon developed a passion for law and political issues. In 1939, she became Secretary and later the Manager of the Cayman Islands Motor Boat Company, the shipping company that owned the Cimboco.
Miss Annie was a self-taught bookkeeper, which allowed her to serve as the first female auditor of the Cayman Islands Government from 1947 to 1959. The following year she became the first female law agent in the Cayman Islands. Her appearances in Court were well noted, and she had a special interest in land cases.
In 1961, Miss Annie became another “first female.” She was a nominated Member of the Legislative Assembly and served for three years. Then in 1965, she successfully ran for office in George Town and become an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly and was returned each election until 1984.
In 1976, Miss Annie became the first Caymanian female to be awarded an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal.
Frances Louise Bodden, MBE, JP (May 12, 1903 - November 6, 1978)
Frances Louise Bodden, also known as “Miss Frances”, was born in Grand Cayman. In 1924,she became one of the first women in Grand Cayman to learn to type. As a result, she was appointed to the Civil Service in 1927 as Secretary to the Commissioner (now Governor), until she retired in 1962. She also served as Secretary to the Board of Education for thirty years.
Mrs. Bodden began the Cub Scouts Movement in the Cayman Islands, was a Justice of the Peace, and served on the Juvenile Court and the Higher Court. She was also active in church, in the Girls’ Guildry, and was a member of the Women’s Guild for nearly 40 years.
The Frances Bodden Girls Home was named in her honour.
Olive Hilda Miller, MBE, Cert Hon. JP
Olive Hilda Miller was born in Essex, England. In 1946 she sailed to Jamaica as a missionary youth worker for the Church of Scotland. During this time she also worked in Grand Cayman.
Mrs. Miller answered the local Presbyterian Church’s request for a mission worker, and in 1949 became a teacher at the new Cayman High School, while working on the weekends with district churches.
She had founded the Girls’ Guildry in 1946 and it became the Girls’ Brigade in 1965. From 1983 to the present, Mrs. Miller has served as Vice-Patron of Brigade International.
In the mid-1960’s she helped establish the country’s first newspaper and was the first Government Information Officer.
In 1982, Mrs. Miller was seconded as a government Youth and Community Worker with the then National Council of Social Services, now known as the National Council of Voluntary Organizations (NCVO). She has remained with NCVO since then, organising programmes and facilities such as the Pines Retirement Home, Pines Villas, Caring Cousin Scheme, and the Nadine Andreas Children’s Centre.
Mrs. Miller is a Justice of the Peace and has served in Juvenile Court and as Chairperson of the Bench. In 1980, she founded the Pink Ladies Volunteer Corps as well as the first annual Glamorous Granny competition in 1994.
Clara Editha Scott Leitch (April 22, 1879 - October 31, 1956)
Clara Editha Scott Leitch was born on West End, Cayman Brac. Since Miss Ditha cared for her mother, who was ill and bedridden, she was never able to pursue her desire to go away to nursing school. Before there were public schools in Cayman Brac, Miss Ditha taught her children and others in her family home before it was destroyed by a storm in 1915.
Inspired by missionaries, Miss Ditha found her passion to be midwifery and healthcare. She even took a certificate mail order course from an American school. As there was no doctor in Cayman Brac then, the communities would also call on her for general first aid or other ailments.
At the age of 19, Miss Ditha delivered her first baby, and thereafter she delivered more than 500 babies and never lost a mother.
Mary Evelyn Wood, Cert. Hon. (November 11, 1900 - May 16, 1978)
As a young lady, Mary Evelyn Wood of Bodden Town started a small school in her father’s house, but later decided to become a nurse. In the late 1930’s, during a typhoid epidemic, Miss Evie worked tirelessly throughout Grand Cayman, especially in West Bay.
In 1939, she left home to join the nursing staff of a girl’s home operated by the Presbyterian Church in Jamaica. She created ‘The Bodden Town Players’ amateur theatre companies and wrote many of the skits and plays they performed. Miss Evie was also one of the founders of a co-operative venture and a social centre.
In 1957, when women from all districts petitioned for the right to vote, Miss Evie was active in Bodden Town. By 1959, local women were granted the right to vote in the next election, opening the door for their involvement in the political arena.
Two years later, she joined the National Democratic Party and was Bodden Town’s Chairperson. She was later elected Party Treasurer. In the 1962 General Elections, she made history by becoming the first woman to be elected into the Legislative Assembly, serving one term. She was also the first woman to serve in court as a juror.