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Women Making History

Acting Premier the Hon. Juliana O'Connor-Connolly, JP and other Women Making History awardees, together with Minister of Community Affairs and Housing the Hon. Mike Adam, MBE, JP.

Stories of triumph over adversity marked the observance of International Women's Day (IWD) on the Glass House lawn on Monday, 8 March.

The event signalled the start of Honouring Women Month which is being coordinated by the Family Resource Centre (FRC) under the theme: Women Making History.

In encouraging women to persevere and strive against the odds, Acting Premier the Hon. Juliana O'Connor-Connolly recounted the journey that took her from humble beginnings in Cayman Brac to one of Cayman's highest seats of power.

She recalled her life as an athlete and the road that took her to Florida's St. Leo College from where she graduated with the highest grade point average of her class and her subsequent nomination as the college's most outstanding alumni.

"I never let the fact that I was a poor girl from the Cayman Islands deter me, even when I was among people from affluent backgrounds," the Acting Premier said.

Emphasising her empathy for the struggles that women continue to experience in both professional and personal lives, Mrs. O'Connor-Connolly described her life of juggling career with family obligations, as well as her own experience as a victim of domestic abuse.

She urged women to continue to work determinedly towards their goals, but reminded them to never forget their roots. "Stay focused and understand that once you put you set your mind on something and have God as your foundation, there is nothing you can't do," she told the audience.

Former athlete and Sports Coordinator for Women Mertha Day urged older women who have already achieved success to mentor young girls. "Today we celebrate how far we have come, but let us remember we must commit ourselves to educating girls and young women, ensuring that they get equal opportunities.

"Far too many people in responsible positions still drag their feet and lag behind in their responsibilities to our girls," Ms. Day noted.

Recounting her years as an athlete, sports coordinator and enthusiast, she said: "Sports taught me to be humble and gracious. They also taught me discipline, patience, perseverance, teamwork and how to stay focused."

In his welcome remarks, Minister of Community Affairs and Housing, the Hon. Mike Adam, MBE, JP noted that the country owes a debt of gratitude to women in our society.

"Cayman would not be the wonderful place it is today without the love and effort of the women amongst us, and those who have gone before.

"We must recognize that women did not limit themselves because things had never been done before. Instead they sought a different path and left their mark on the world," Mr. Adam said.

He encouraged women to be inspired to do likewise and added "Carve out you own destinies and do not let anyone stand in your way."

The FRC used the occasion to recognise female history makers in Cayman by unveiling a banner in their honour. Those special women were nominated by members of the community, and they or their representatives were presented with flowers to mark the occasion.

Among almost 70 women hailed as a Woman Making History were National Hero the Hon. Sybil McLaughlin; Acting Premier the Hon. Juliana O'Connor-Connolly; Mertha Day; the late Estella Scott Roberts and Dr. Elsa Cummings.

The event also recognised the Cayman Islands Women Under-17 Soccer team which has advanced further than any previous Cayman team in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. The team remains in Costa Rica for a match, but the audience watched a video presentation on their endeavours.

The FRC also announced the winners of its Honouring Women Month poetry and photo contests. First prize for poetry was won by Molly Bryan for her poem "She." Second prize went to Sue Dixon for "Women Making History," while the third prize was won by Carren LaCruse for her piece "Reflections."

Prizes in the photo contest went to Laurie Welcome for Engine--first place; Laura Watler for Women Moving through time in second and Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette for Low Picks in third place.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Prudence Barnes