Pillar of the community and legendary centenarian Jean Scott, who recently passed away just shy of her 103rd birthday was an iconic figure, a social activist, and a staunch promoter of women. She was instrumental in the conception of the Hope and Area Transition Society(HATS), which was named after her in 1996.
“She would have been 83 years old when I first met her and I remember that she was in this royal blue dress with a corsage and she was outstanding looking — just regal and I’ve never met a woman with such passion and conviction, such fire, and I thought wow she is an inspiration,” Gerry Dyble, executive director of HATS told the Standard.
Born in Brandon, Manitoba on April 12th, 1912, the devoted feminist worked tirelessly for the women of the Great Depression, fighting for the reparation of the gross fiscal disparities that existed between men and women for paying jobs.“She was always singing and she always had something to say about the rights of women. That’s her legacy — women’s rights,” Dyble said.
Starting out with humble beginnings after being born in a grocery store, Scott firmly believed in the accountability of the individual to promote courage and strength, and by doing so set an example for others to follow.
It was her express wish to uphold those who fiercely campaigned to end the disenfranchisement of women worldwide and to give credit to the heroic efforts, pioneering men and women put fourth to bridge gender inequalities.
“Back as the director in 98’ I thought, she’s an inspiration, she’s the person you want to emulate in the community — you want to fight for people who are oppressed, marginalized and that’s really the underpinnings of our organization as we’ve moved forward in this community and we keep her in mind,” she said.
Scott’s campaigns to have women recognized as legal persons were often thwarted by the Labour Council in Vancouver, who often suggested that a woman’s worth was half that of her male counterpart.
Up until the time of her death the beloved matriarch served as the B.C. female representative to the Canadian Labour Congress’ committee to present a Brief to the Royal Commission on the Status of Women.
Scott was a board member of Transition House since the inception of shelters geared toward abused women, starting out in Victoria and then moving on to Chilliwack, as Vice-President for the Upper Fraser Valley Transition Society. Along with her husband Frank Scott, who passed several years before her, the prolific social activist set a precedent that will be remembered both locally and nationally.
As a recipient of the Canada’s Persons Case Award(which she carried in her purse at all times) that recognizes an exemplary contribution to the promotion of gender equality and an honourary doctorate from the University of Fraser Valley, Scott will be lovingly remembered as a groundbreaking phenomenon and the first woman-ever to be awarded the degree.
“Jean often said that she was born before her time.”