- Dionne V. FrankDionne V. FrankUniversity of Guyana
Gertie Wood (September 18, 1892–August 26, 1976) was a Guyanese social worker, music teacher, women’s rights activist, and the first female political candidate in the British West Indies. She is most often described by Caribbean historians, gender and development scholars, and supporters of the women’s movements as a pioneer women’s rights activist. However, Wood also made an invaluable impact on social work in then British Guiana during the 1930s and 1940s, articulating the plight of women and children in the former British colony. She found fame with the Circle of Sunshine Workers, the Second Inter-Colonial Conference of Women Social Workers, and her amplification of the need for social welfare workers and programs to the Royal West Indian Commission in 1939. Wood’s activism chartered the path for establishing the British Guiana League of Social Services, a trajectory that created a model for national and transnational collaborative work. Wood was honored for her self-sacrificing service as a recipient of the King’s Silver Jubilee Medal—an Order of the British Empire.