Eugenia Charles

Dominica’s first female prime minister

A fellow barrister of mine told me that he thinks I let down the profession by the amount of jiving. But I didn’t care.
Eugenia Charles, credit Alamy
Eugenia Charles, credit Alamy

Eugenia Charles (1919-2005) studied at LSE in the late 1940s. Eugenia became Dominica’s first female lawyer and the first female prime minister in not only Dominica but also the Caribbean. To many, Eugenia was known as the “Iron Lady of the Caribbean”.

Eugenia founded the Dominica Freedom Party in 1968, came to power in 1980 and eventually ran Dominica for 15 years to 1995. She sustained many attacks on her status as a female leader to become the third longest-serving female prime minister in the world. She was made a dame four years before retiring from politics.

Before becoming Dominica’s first female lawyer, Eugenia arrived in London in 1946 to take her final exams at the Inns of Court and be called to the Bar, and decided to study Law too. She loved LSE’s Library and life in London (apart from the weather) - and did not pay any attention to early attempts to curtail her natural headstrong behaviour and sense of fun. Following a 1948 New Year’s party she wrote “A fellow barrister of mine told me that he thinks I let down the profession by the amount of jiving. But I didn’t care.”

Read more

Eugenia Charles on the LSE History Blog by Sonia Gomes

University of London leading women gallery: Eugenia Charles