Cayman’s women band together

Non-profit organisations often play a key role in promoting and supporting women, and Cayman is lucky enough to have a number of groups which empower women. Each organisation offers unique benefits to the community, either giving individuals a female-oriented platform from which to help others; encouraging local businesses to foster female talent and inclusion; or by contributing to the development of the next generation of female leaders.

Here are a few of Cayman’s organisations that champion women.

100 Women in Finance

100 Women in Finance (100WF) is a global finance industry organisation of more than 15,000 members that empowers women to achieve their professional potential at each career stage.

Its members inspire, equip and advocate for a new generation of industry leadership, in which women and men serve as investment professionals and executives, equal in achievement and impact. Through education, peer engagement and impact initiatives, the organisation furthers the progress of women who have chosen finance as a career and enables their positive influence over pre-career young women.

Founded in 2001, the global organisation has raised nearly US$50 million (gross) for non-profit organisations and held more than 1,000 educational events worldwide.

The Cayman Islands location was established in 2012, bringing the collaborative efforts of the wider group to the islands’ financial sector.

According to Amanda Pullinger, CEO of 100 Women in Finance, “Our efforts in the Cayman Islands reflect our best work as an organisation, both in terms of producing compelling programming relevant to our members’ professional lives, as well as our efforts to invest in the next generation with GirlForce 100, our local mentoring programme for pre-career young women. With more than 1,000 members in Cayman, we are able to deliver impact at scale, something that makes us incredibly proud.”

The organisation includes members – women and men – in all roles and functions in the financial services industry and has a specialist NextGen Group focused on the peer networking needs and interests of women in the first decade of their careers.

GirlForce 100

GirlForce100GirlForce 100 is 100 Women in Finance’s flagship mentoring programme in the Cayman Islands and has mentored 110 students since its launch in 2016.

The strategic partnership with the Cayman Islands Ministry of Education pairs 100WF members with 59 female Caymanian public high school students, ages 13-18, to create career mentoring relationships which unlock the potential of the mentee and exposes them to careers in the finance industry.

Mentees attend one-on-one meetings with 100WF mentors bi-weekly and in groups at bi-monthly events. Mentoring sessions and group events focus on impactful goal setting and career guidance to provide the mentees with stability, support and the tools to develop skills and emerge as future leaders. The programme currently operates in John Gray High School and Clifton Hunter High School but intends to expand to both local colleges and private schools.

“GirlForce 100 is the mission of 100 Women in Finance in action. I am proud as a Caymanian and a professional to be part of an initiative in which one generation of professional women actively mentors another,” says Maples Group partner and 100WF board member, Christina Bodden. “Our support of these young mentees finds their potential, exposes them to opportunities in the finance industry and creates the leaders of tomorrow.”

Amanda Pullinger, CEO of 100 Women in Finance says, “I was first in my family to go to university. I chose to go to Oxford because a role model I never met – Margaret Thatcher – was visible to me. She came from a similar background to me and her pathway therefore seemed possible for me. Through GirlForce 100, 100 Women in Finance offers Caymanian girls the chance to be similarly inspired by women from the local finance industry, and to build relationships that we believe will provide entre to advanced educational and professional opportunities.”

Gender Equality Cayman

“Gender Equality Cayman is a not-for-profit organisation with a vision of greater gender balance in the workplace in the Cayman Islands. The underlying belief is that diversity, and gender equality, are key metrics of highly productive, profitable and stable businesses,” explains Louise Reed, co-chair of GEC.

The group is made up of members of the private and public sectors, who aim to foster gender equality in the Cayman Islands’ workforce.

“Our mission is to develop, promote and distribute the tools that organisational leadership need in order to drive and achieve equal opportunity at work,” says Louise.

The group encourages local businesses to pledge support for gender equality and diversity. These businesses in turn benefit from the training and information that Gender Equality Cayman provides on the subject.

They also receive dedicated guidance regarding policy and procedure adjustments, based on each business’s diversity and inclusion goals.

The non-profit produces the ‘Gender Equality in the Cayman Islands’ report and uses their funds to provide local and global reports related to workplace equality. Their work assists businesses in bringing their policies up to par and creates diverse working environments which are free from discrimination, by making recommendations to management and leadership.

The Business and Professional Women’s Club

The Business and Professional Women’s Club (BPW) of Grand Cayman was formed in 1976 and has been working diligently to improve women’s rights and professional development since then.

“The aims of the BPW are to develop professional and leadership potential, therefore allowing women to strive towards equal participation in power and decision-making roles,” says Andrea Williams, president of BPW Grand Cayman. “We also enable business and professional women to use their combined abilities and strengths for the attainment of BPW objectives in line with gender sensitive perspectives and human rights.”

Aside from mentoring work, leadership training and e-Business training programs, the group’s work has included lobbying the Government for the establishment of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre and introduction of legislation and programs to protect women and children’s rights.

They worked to establish Legal Befrienders pro bono legal aid programmes, provide educational scholarships to Caymanian women, and are the force behind local initiatives to empower women and children such as the Silent Witness March, 16 Days of Activism Campaign against Gender Abuse, Back to School Program, Financial Literacy Program, health and wellness initiatives, and networking and social events.

Membership over the years has included many prominent Caymanian women including Edna Moyle, Joy Ann Rollins, Cissy Delapenha, Beverly Banks, Lucille Seymour, Joy Basdeo and Annie Multon. The group’s first scholarship recipient was the Honourable Julianna O’Connor-Connolly.

The Cayman chapter is part of a much larger worldwide initiative, BPW International, the world’s leading international women’s organisation with UN status and presence in more than 100 countries.

Girl Power Cayman is a non-profit organisation which mentors young women between 15-25 years old. Their mission is to inspire, nurture and empower young women with lifelong knowledge, skills and values to succeed in today’s challenging and competitive society.

Their four specific aims are to equip young women with the communication and soft skills necessary in today’s society, promote Caymanian culture and values, uplift and empower young women, and to foster a safe space for young women to develop.

Available programmes focus on building self-confidence and training young women to be community leaders.

“We currently have 16 members between the ages 15-24 who have already engaged in various activities such as an etiquette dinner and goal-setting meeting where they made visions boards for 2020,” says Kelsie Woodman-Bodden of Girl Power Cayman.

“Going forward, we have plans to help girls with public speaking, interview skills, university and scholarship applications and overall self-confidence.”