Beatrice Greig

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Beatrice Greig
Born 1869 (1869)
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Died Trinidad
Nationality British
Occupation Social worker, women's rights activist
Years active 1920-1940s

Beatrice Greig (born 1869) was a Trinidadian writer, editor and women's rights activist in the period between 1900 and 1940. She was one of the most influential voices for women's civil, economic and political equality during this time frame. She was one of the first women to run in an election in Trinidad.

Biography

Greig was born in 1869 in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.[1][2] She moved with her missionary Scottish parents to Trinidad at the age of sixteen and then studied in India, becoming exposed to the ideas of theosophy and Katherine Mayo's work on the subjugation of Indian women.[3] Returning to Trinidad, in 1891, she married William Greig[4] and took up residence on his Cedros Estate.[5] Widowed at a young age, she turned to activism and social work.[4]

Greig formed the Trinidad Union of Girls Clubs and organized branches throughout the island. She also worked with the Teacher's Trade Union and Trinidad Labor Party. Beginning in the late 1920s, she began contributing to the East Indian Weekly,[4] becoming an activist speaking on behalf of Indo-Trinidadian women on issues like girls’ education and child marriage.[6] She also served as an advisor to Pandit Āyodhyā Prasād when he visited the island and established Arya Samaj in Trinidad and Tobago.[7] In 1927, when the issue of women being able to hold positions on the Port of Spain Council was being hotly debated,[8] Greig gave a public speech, "The Position of Women in Public Life", arguing that women were ready to serve and paid taxes. Her arguments were rejected by the Port of Spain Gazette,[9] but two years later, women were granted the right to serve.[10] By 1929, Greig was the associate editor of The Beacon and had a regular column in The Library.[8] Her journalistic efforts focused on social issues, such as a 1931 piece in the Labor Leader about the involvement of religion in civil marriage and divorce.[4] She argued that without divorce, marriage imprisoned women, allowing men to use their wives at their convenience.[11]

In 1936, Greig became one of the first three women to run for a seat on the City Council.[8] Though she was one of the most respected citizens[12] and one of the most influential voices for women's rights,[13] Greig's qualification papers were rejected.[14] That same year, she made a presentation, "The New Age and Women’s Place in It", at the Conference of British West Indies and British Guiana Women Social Workers organized by Audrey Jeffers and the Coterie of Social Workers. In the speech, she argued that women had equal mental abilities to men and that though often subordinated and suppressed, women were ready to be integrated as equal participants in society.[15]

Legacy

Greig along with Gertrude Protain and Louise Rowley of Grenada,[16] May Farquharson[17] and Una Marson of Jamaica,[16] and Audrey Jeffers[13] helped spread feminism throughout the Caribbean.[16] She has been called one of the most important feminists of her era[13] and her work influenced other feminists like Gema Ramkeesoon.[5]

References

Citations

  1. ^ Ellis Island Passenger Lists 1904.
  2. ^ Ellis Island Passenger Lists 1910.
  3. ^ Wieringa 1995, pp. 104-105.
  4. ^ a b c d Wieringa 1995, p. 105.
  5. ^ a b Ramkeesoon 1999, p. 339.
  6. ^ Reddock 2007, p. 10.
  7. ^ Taylor 2015, p. 97.
  8. ^ a b c Wieringa 1995, p. 106.
  9. ^ Reddock 1990, p. 72.
  10. ^ Wieringa 1995, p. 110.
  11. ^ Neptune 2009, p. 26.
  12. ^ Neptune 2009, pp. 38-39.
  13. ^ a b c Wieringa 1995, p. 104.
  14. ^ Reddock 1990, p. 73.
  15. ^ Wieringa 1995, pp. 111-112.
  16. ^ a b c Rajack-Talley 2004, p. 10.
  17. ^ Reddock 2007, p. 5.

Bibliography

  • Neptune, Harvey R. (2009). Caliban and the Yankees: Trinidad and the United States Occupation. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-6811-9. 
  • Rajack-Talley, Theresa (Fall 2004). "Afro-Caribbean Women's Resistance to Race, Class, and Gender Domination". International Journal of Africana Studies. Atlanta, Georgia: National Council for Black Studies. 10 (2): 14–31. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  • Ramkeesoon, Gema (1999). "Early Women's Organizations in Trinidad: 1920s to 1950s". In Mohammed, Patricia; Shepherd, Catherine. Gender in Caribbean Development: Papers Presented at the Inaugural Seminar of the University of the West Indies, Women and Development Studies Project. Canoe Press University of the West Indies. ISBN 978-976-8125-55-2. 
  • Reddock, Rhoda (April 2007). "Diversity, Difference and Caribbean Feminism: The Challenge of Anti-Racism" (PDF). Diversity. Mona Campus, Jamaica: Centre for Gender and Development Studies, University of the West Indies (1): 1–24. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  • Reddock, Rhoda (1990). "Feminism, Nationalism, and the Early Women's Movement in the English-Speaking Caribbean". In Cudjoe, Selwyn Reginald. Caribbean Women Writers: Essays from the First International Conference. Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 0-87023-732-2. 
  • Taylor, Patrick (2015). The Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religions. 1: A-L. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-09433-0. 
  • Wieringa, Saskia (1995). Subversive Women: Historical Experiences of Gender and Resistance. London, England: Zed Books. ISBN 978-1-85649-318-5. 
  • "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924: Beatrice Greig". FamilySource. Washington, D.C.: National Archives Record Service. 25 May 1904. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  • "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924: Beatrice Greig". FamilySource. Washington, D.C.: National Archives Record Service. 24 May 1910. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
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