In Memory of an Advocate for Women

Wellington-born Jill McLean Taylor’s memory is being kept alive by her three sons with a scholarship they began shortly after McLean Taylor’s death in the United States in 2010. He Also Had Five Daughters: the Jill McLean Taylor Memorial Scholarship Fund aims to honour Taylor and her advocacy for social justice and equal education for women.

McLean Taylor died at the age of 66, shortly after she was diagnosed with acute myloid leukemia.

On her gravestone in a quiet Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard burial ground, surrounded by a New Zealand flag, flowers, and engravings of a Kiwi and a silver fern, the Maori word “harakoa” is etched below her name. Her husband, Harry Taylor, said it begins to hint at some of her many qualities: “Cheerful, educated, life of the party, interested in everything and everybody.”

The name of the scholarship comes from the last line of an obituary for Jill McLean Taylor’s grandfather that ran in a New Zealand newspaper. The obituary “went on and on about his sons and their careers, and at the end, it said ‘by the way, Jack McLean also had five daughters,’” Harry Taylor said.

Taylor picked up the story where the obituary stopped, doing research in New Zealand to fill in the details of her family tree. He Also Had Five Daughters was the title of a book she was working on about the McLean women.

McLean Taylor was a physical therapist. She held a master’s degree and a doctorate in education, human development and psychology from Harvard University.

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