Dame, the Honourable Maizie Irene Barker-Welch, BCH, CHB, DBE, LLD
Women's Rights Activist, Former Parliamentarian, Barbados
Maizie Irene Barker-Welch, a former Member of Parliament, and an avid promoter of women's causes, was born in Barbados on 17 September 1927.
Early life and education
Maizie Irene Barker-Welch was born in Barbados on 17 September 1927. She received her secondary education from the St Michael’s Girls School (1939 - 1946). She later attended Carleton University (1962) and the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus (1965 - 1967).
Her teaching career spans 1946 - 1978 and includes the St. Bernard's School, the St. Gabriel Girls' School; the Foundation Girls' School; the Ursuline Convent and Codrington High School. She was a Dorothy Cadbury Fellow at Selly Oak University in Birmingham, UK, in 1982-1983.
She was Vice President and President of the Barbados National Organisation of Women (NOW) founded in 1970; NOW's representative in the Caribbean Women's Association (CARIWA) and Barbados' representative at the first UN Conference for Women on Population Development in 1973. She was Barbados' delegate to the Inter American Commission of Women in 1986-1994, President of the Business and Professional Women's Club of Barbados, and Regional Coordinator for the English speaking Caribbean and USA, Canada - attending its worldwide conferences.
In 1986, Dame Maizie entered Parliament as the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) representative for the St. Joseph Constituency. She was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Community Development, also serving in other ministries including the Ministry for Women's Affairs. She was appointed Senator from 1991-1994.
From 1990-92 , she was the President of CIM (Inter-American Commission of Women), eventually being named Advisor Emeritus to CIM.
In 1992, she was the leader of the female Barbados delegation on an official visit to the People’s Republic of China.
Honours and awards
In 2014, she was named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Year’s honour list for ”national, regional and international services as an advocate for the rights of women”. Dame Maizie, who previously received the Barbados Centennial Honour and Companion Honour of Barbados.
Dame Maizie was conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) by the University of the West Indies on 18 October 2014.
Dame Maizie was married to the late Pedro McCartney Welch. She is the mother of four - Pedro, Sonja, Yolande, and Peter.