Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Tribute to Hazel Brown - champion of women

25 September 2022

 

Thanks to Hazel Brown’s pioneering efforts, Trinidad & Tobago has a historical account of women who contested local government elections from 1946 (when the local government system was expanded to include the entire country) up to 2013.

 

The book provides a roll of the women who aspired to be councillors. In 1946 only one woman answered the call to fill 72 seats, and sixty-seven years later, the publication listed 146 names to fill 135 seats. The book shows that Hazel Brown was a candidate in the 1987 contest for a seat in the Port of Spain Municipal Council – the nation’s capital city. A campaigner for gender equity, Hazel Brown repeatedly expressed the desire to see a woman mayor of her capital city … perhaps in her honour, in the upcoming local government election?

Childhood interest in local government

Hazel Brown’s interest in governance and civic duties began as a child when the Port of Spain City Council awarded her a bursary to attend secondary school; she was required to present herself at city hall for her school work to be inspected, and her progress monitored. The city’s investment and interface in that young child, nurtured a mind and personality that would become her country’s legendary social activist, and a secretary of the Commonwealth Women’s Network (CWN). Ever since 1991 Hazel was known among the Commonwealth family of nations for her advocacy to improve the quality of life, in parallel to CHOGM, at the Commonwealth People’s Forum.

Network founder

As a founder and coordinator of the Network of NGOs for the Advancement of Women in Trinidad & Tobago, Hazel is remembered by UN Women for her contributions in negotiations at the Commission for the Status of Women, in arriving at the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action for equality and opportunities for women and men, girls and boys.

Social justice

Born in 1942, the enigmatic and renown feminist - Hazel Brown spent almost her entire life nationally, regionally and internationally pursuing social justice and the advancement of women. She crossed the four-score milestone knowing that in her native country 37% of Local Government representatives are women, with aspirations to achieve the 50/50 vision she shared for women in the chambers of Municipal Councils – the place where her sense of public duty was cultivated from childhood. Such is the influence and power of Local Government! 

Affectionately called the “woman warrior” may her soul rest in peace.

 

Photo: 2018,Hazel Brown mentors young woman City Councillor of Port of Spain at CLGF’s Caribbean regional conference in Trinidad & Tobago

 

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