Government employees fight for gender equality


Government employees fight for gender equality

The discrimination against women has been made clear through a study on the functions of city workers in the years before independence. Two such women who should be recognized have come to my attention in the fight to increase the number of women working in the civil service and to better their working circumstances so that they can be treated equally with men.

Vera Crosskill Murphy and Leila James Tomlinson are those people. They were both Wolmers. Vera Lucille Crosskill, born in St. Ann in 1910, joined Wolmer's in 1920, while Leila Frederika James, born in Kingston in 1894, joined somewhere about 1904.

The Leila James case (Tomlinson)

In 1912, Leila James became the first female Jamaica Scholar, enabling her to enroll in the University of London. She received a BA with honors in 1915. The British government service had started to hire women in substantial numbers during World War I at this point.

James was hired temporarily as a sub-examiner in the Department of Education upon his return to Jamaica, a position typically held by a man. Some individuals disagreed with her job. She stayed on at the Department of Education until March 1920 and would have anticipated a promotion for her hard work. Instead, her position was eliminated. The British Sex Discrimination Removal Act was enacted in 1919, it should be noted.

A Commission of Enquiry was created to investigate her termination. In February 1921, the commission declared that she had been fired unfairly. She was not, however, put back in her position. It was suggested that she get a year's pay and another job in the military. That must have referred to a lesser position suitable for a woman. The Gleaner reported on her case and deemed it unfair. It brought to light how pervasive gender bias is in government. In 1921, Leila James departed Jamaica and resigned. She was an educator who worked in Bermuda, Costa Rica, and Africa. In 1941, Leila James Tomlinson came back to Jamaica to work for Jamaica Welfare. She worked in social work and education for a very long time, advocating the interest of women and families. She passed away in 1979 at age 82.

Vera Crosskill (Murphy)

In 1929, Vera Lucille Crosskill began working for the government as an interim clerk in the Department of Agriculture. She changed jobs and became a female grade 1 clerk in the Collector General's Department. Vera Crosskill joined the campaign to raise the standing of women in the government of Jamaica. She most certainly knew about the Leila James case.

Vera Crosskill led a delegation to the Civil Service Commission in 1943 to request that the marriage bar that prevented married women from working in the civil service be lifted and that women in the civil service have their qualifications recognized, be eligible for study leave, be considered for promotions, and receive equal pay for equal work. With the assistance of the Jamaica Civil Service Association, her advocacy bore fruit.

Vera Crosskill Murphy was the highest-ranking woman in the Jamaican civil service when she was the first female to be elevated to the position of island statistician at the Bureau of Statistics in 1952. In 1950, she wed Vincent Hubert Murphy. The hurdle for marriage had been removed. Additionally, as my post from the previous week mentioned, three women started working as administrative assistants in the administrative grades in 1953. (cadets).

Vera Murphy was chosen to serve as the Pensions Authority's secretary in 1959. She participated in the development of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), which was launched in 1965, working for retirees across the entire island. After retiring in 1962, Mrs. Murphy pursued a prosperous career in insurance.

She was active in theatre and the Girl Guides throughout her childhood. Age 77, she passed away in Miami in December 1987.

Vera Crosskill Murphy and Leila James Tomlinson both garnered national recognition. Although there was still work to be done, women's place in the civil service had improved by the time of independence.

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