News Releases

Fearless Politics: The Life and Times of Hazel Brown

For Release Upon Receipt - March 25, 2015

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago – On March 27 and 28, the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) at The University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine will join the  Network of NGO's for the Advancement of Women, the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator, the Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago and Working Women for Social Progress to host a conference in commemoration of Hazel Brown’s commitment and contribution titled “Fearless Politics: The Life and Times of Hazel Brown”.

For decades, Hazel Brown has been the media’s go-to person on women’s rights, and has been a vocal advocate for consumer rights. Through her organisation the Network of NGOs for the Advancement of Women, she has brought public attention to a number of gender issues, including the representation of women in the political process. In 2011 she was honoured with the Medal for the Development of Women (Gold) for her dedicated work in advancing women’s rights and issues.

Honourable Prime Minister, Kamla Persad Bissessar, will be among the featured speakers at the Opening Ceremony, carded for March 27 from 6pm at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad. The Prime Minister will be joined by Rosina Wiltshire, First CARICOM Advocate for Gender Justice, who will deliver the Keynote Address, as well as UWI St. Augustine Deputy Campus Principal, Professor Rhoda Reddock, IGDS Head of Department, Professor Patricia Mohammed Richard Blewitt, United Nations Resident Coordinator, among others. On March 28, the conference continues with a One Day Symposium at The UWI St. Augustine’s Teaching and Learning Complex from 9am to 6pm.

The themes of the conference are grouped into four broad categories: women’s health and reproductive justice; politics; community and culture; and advocacy, and reflect Brown’s involvement in community and national work. She was a driving force behind the “50-50” and “Put a Woman” campaigns in various national and local government elections, and a founder of the Women’s Caucus. Her name is tied to progressive movements like the Housewives Association of T&T (HATT) and the Diego Martin Co-op. She has been an advocate for the creation of a National Gender Policy and has also been a supporter of solar power for cooking, and was a tireless champion for consumer rights.

Brown’s diverse interests are apparent in the collection of documents the Network has donated to The UWI’s Alma Jordan Library. The documents will form the basis of a Special Collection to be housed in the West Indiana section of the library. As part of its ongoing project “The Making of Caribbean Feminisms”, the IGDS previously facilitated the development of another Special Collection on the life and work of Nesta Patrick, an early activist in the Trinidad and Tobago women’s movement.

IGDS lecturer Dr Gabrielle Hosein, one of the conference organisers, said, “There are few Caribbean citizens like Hazel Brown. She has spent at least four decades in civic activism, on issues ranging from women’s health to community and consumer rights, from sustainable food provision, including solar cooking, to women’s political participation and leadership. Her story should remind another generation that we don’t have to invent new strategies or search for more contemporary issues, particularly in relation to women’s rights. What we have to do is learn from and continue her legacy.”

For more information on the conference and the Hazel Brown Special Collection, go to: or email: or



About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:


(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)