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Karene-Anne Nathaniel

Audrey Layne Jeffers (1898–1968) was an early feminist of African descent with a commitment to the advancement of Black women, education of girls, services to children with disabilities, and government responsibility for social welfare. She mobilized young women to form the Coterie of Social Workers in Trinidad that began a meal program for underprivileged school children in the 1920s, which shaped the National School Feeding Program that today offers free meals to all school students. This led to the establishment of other similar facilities in other parts of the country, as well as the opening of homes for dispossessed young women, the elderly, and the blind, and daycare facilities to help working women. These facilities form the backdrop for the practice of social work in the Caribbean. She was instrumental in the hosting of the first women’s conference which made numerous recommendations including equal opportunities for women and women in the police service. She was the first woman to be elected to local government, and later nominated to the legislative council by the governor. Jeffers was a champion for disadvantaged women and girls, but notably opened the door for women in politics in the English-speaking Caribbean.