A book covering the careers of women in parliament here was launched at a function at the Dominica House of Assembly on Saturday evening. “Women in Parliament in Dominica: Past and Present” is written by Speaker of the House of Assembly Alix Boyd Knights and historian and anthropologist Lennox Honychurch.
The book is made up of short biographies of all the 30 women who have served as members of the legislature since the first woman was elected in 1940. It includes women Speakers and Clerks of the House.
The opening chapters also give an account of the constitutional and social and political changes that led up to women being given the vote for the first time in 1924.
It goes on to detail the “Road to Independence” and the developments following the granting of Universal Adult Suffrage in 1951. This gave everyone the right to vote without the ‘qualifications’ of land and/or income that were previously required.
In addressing the function, Speaker Alix Boyd Knights said that the aim of the book was to encourage more young women to get involved in politics by showing the examples of those who served.
Lennox Honychurch pointed out that Dominica had led the way with women in politics in the Caribbean by electing the first woman in parliament in the region in 1940, the first woman Minister of Government in 1958 for the West Indies Federation, and locally in 1966. The first woman Prime Minister was elected in 1980 and in that same year the first woman Speaker took up duties.
Cultural activist Alwin Bully congratulated the two authors on their important work, which itself is the first of its kind in the Caribbean.
The book was financed by a grant secured by Speaker Boyd Knights from the British High Commission for the Eastern Caribbean based in Barbados. It was printed by Lericorn Printers and is available from the House of Assembly for EC $40.00.
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