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Women in Politics in Barbados

Women acquired the right to vote and to become members of either House of Parliament in Barbados in 1944.  In 1948, Mrs. Muriel Hanschell was appointed to the Legislative Council, the first woman member of either House.  In the first general election under adult suffrage in December 1951, Edna Ermyntrude Bourne (later Dame Edna), was the first woman to be elected as a member of the House of Assembly.  She represented St. Andrew until 1961.  Twenty years later (1971-1976), Gertrude Eastmond was elected to parliament as a member of the Democratic Labour Party.  In 1976 Billie Miller (now Dame Billie) was the third female elected to Parliament and a year later was appointed the first female Minister of Government in the new BLP administration.  Previously, Odessa Gittens (1966-1971) was appointed Parliamentary Secretary of Education and Gertrude Eastmond (1971-1976) was Parliamentary Secretary of Health and Welfare.

Since Dame Billie, six other women have been elected to the House of Assembly – Mazie Barker Welch (1986-1991), Mia Mottley (1994-present), Elizabeth Thompson (1994-2008), Cynthia Forde (2001-present), Esther Byer-Suckoo (2008-present), and Mara Thompson (2011-present).

WOMEN IN THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF BARBADOS
Photo Name Constituency Party Period
Learn more Edna Ermyntrude BOURNE St. Andrew DLP 1951 - 1961
Learn more Gertude EASTMOND St. Michael North East DLP 1971 - 1976
Learn more Billie A. MILLER City of Bridgetown BLP 1976 - 1986 & 1991 - 2008
Learn more Maizie BARKER-WELCH St. Joseph DLP 1986 - 1991
Learn more Mia A. MOTTLEY St. Michael North East BLP

1994 - present

Current Leader of the Opposition

Learn more H. Elizabeth THOMPSON St. James South BLP 1994 - 2008
Learn more Cynthia FORDE St. Thomas BLP 2001 - present
Learn more Esther BYER St. George South DLP 2008 - 2013
Learn more Mara THOMPSON St. John DLP 2011 - present
Learn more Santia J.O. BRADSHAW St. Michael South East BLP 2013 - present
Learn more Maria AGARD Christ Church West BLP 2013 - present
WOMEN IN THE SENATE OF BARBADOS
Photo Name Party Period
Learn more Her Honour Kerryann F. IFILL DLP

2008 - present

Started term as Deputy President of the Senate and on 19 March 2012 was sworn in as the first female President of the Senate and also the first visually impaired person to hold such a post.

Learn more The Hon. Maxine P.O. McCLEAN DLP

2008 - present

Leader of the Senate; 2008 - present

Learn more Irene SANDIFORD-GARNER DLP 2008 - present
Learn more Patricia INNISS DLP 2008 - present
Learn more Verla DEPEIZA DLP 2012 - present
Learn more The Hon.Esther BYER DLP 2013 - present
Learn more Carol Lady HAYNES IND 2015 - present
Learn more Santia J.O. BRADSHAW BLP 2010 - 2013
Learn more Dr. Frances Louise CHANDLER IND 2008 - 2013
Learn more Velma Eudora NEWTON, SCM IND 2008 - 2013
Learn more Billie A. MILLER BLP 2007
Learn more Lynette EASTMOND BLP 2003 - 2008
Learn more Cynthia Y. FORDE BLP 1994 - 2001
Learn more Maizie BARKER-WELCH DLP 1985 - 1986
Learn more Carmeta FRASER DLP  
Learn more Erma V. ROCK - 1966 - 1971
WOMEN IN THE CABINET OF BARBADOS
Photo Name Party Post
  H. Odessa GITTENS DLP 1966 - 1971 Parliamentary Secretary of Education
Learn more Gertrude EASTMOND DLP 1971 - 1976 Parliamentary Secretary of Health and Welfare
Learn more Dame Billie Antoinette MILLER BLP

1976 - 1981: Minister of Health and Insurance

1981 - 1986: Minister of Education

1985 - 1986: Minister of Culture

1994 - 2003: Deputy Prime Minister

1994 - 2008: Minister of Foreign Affairs

1994 - 1995: Minister of Foreign Trade and International Business

1995 - 1999: Minister of Tourism and International Transport

1999 - 2008: Minister of Foreign Trade

2003 - 2008: Senior Minister

Learn more Maizie BARKER-WELCH DLP

1985 - 1986: Parliamentary Secretary of Education and Culture

1986 - 1990: Parliamentary Secretary of Labour and Community Development

1990 - 1994: Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister

1994: Parliamentary Secretary of Civil Service, Labour, Industrial Relations, Public Works and Community Development and Sports in the Office of the Prime Minister

Learn more Mia A. MOTTLEY BLP

1994 - 2001: Minister of Education, Culture and Youth

2001 - 2006: Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs

2001 - 2008: Leader of the House

2003 - 2008: Deputy Prime Minister

2006 - 2008: Minister of Economic Affairs and Development

Learn more H. Elizabeth THOMPSON BLP

1994 - 1999: Minister of Health and the Environment

2001: Minister of the Environment

2001 - 2003: Minister of Physical Development

2003 - 2006: Minister of Housing and Lands

2006 - 2008: Minister of Energy

Learn more Cynthia Y. FORDE BLP

1994 - 1995: Parliamentary Secretary of Education, Youth Affairs and Culture

1995 - 1999: Parliamentary Secretary of Finance and Economic Affairs

1999 - 2001: Parliamentary Secretary of Education, Youth Affairs and Culture

2001 - 2008: Minister of State for Education, Youth Affairs and Culture;

Learn more Lynette EASTMOND BLP

2003: Minister of Labour and Social Security

2003 - 2008: Minister of Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Business Development

Learn more Esther BYER DLP

2008: Minister of Environment

2008 - 2010: Minister of Family, Youth Affairs, Sports

2010 - 2013: Minister of Labour and Social Security

2013 - present: Minister of Labour, Social Security, and Human Resource Development

Learn more Maxine McCLEAN DLP

2008: Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Leader of Government Business in the Senate

2008 - present: Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

Learn more Irene SANDIFORD-GARNER DLP

2008: Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Community, Development and Culture

2008 - 2010: Parliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office

2010 - 2013: Parliamentary Secretary of Health

2013 - Present: Minister of State Tourism and International Transport

 VOTER EDUCATION
 Barbados Country Profile
 Barbados Government Structure
 Barbados Election Basics
 The Parliament of Barbados
 Political History and Dynamics
 Electoral Legislation
 Barbados Leaders
 Women in Government in Barbados
 Barbados Timeline
 Glossary of Election Terms
 Teacher Resources
 POPULAR RESOURCES
Barbados Leaders
Download Barbados Labour Party Manifesto 2013
Download Democratic Labour Party Manifesto 2013
Download Barbados Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals for 2013
Download Barbados Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals for 2012
Download Barbados Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals for 2011
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