8th December 1948

Jersey elects first woman to States Assembly

The election of 1948 was a momentous occasion for two reasons. Principally, it was the first election to take place after the Occupation. However, it was also the first at which a woman was elected to sit in the Chamber. The successful candidate was Ivy Forster.

The first woman to attempt to stand for election as a Deputy was Caroline Trachy, who was proposed and seconded for a seat for St Helier in December 1922, only to be disqualified purely on account of her gender. Thus, it was Ivy Forster, a quarter of a century later, who became the island’s first female deputy.

A long wait

Indeed, Forster had been encouraged to stand by the Bailiff after a successful spell as a public speaker in the aftermath of the occupation. She stood for election a further two times – in 1951 and 1954 – but, although she successfully defended her seat at the first of those, it was third time unlucky in 1954.

However, 1954 wasn’t entirely bad news for Jersey’s female representatives as Gwyneth Huelin was elected a Senator in St Brelade.

Ivy Forster will be remembered as more than just Jersey’s first female Deputy, though. During the occupation she and her sister Louisa Gould sheltered escaped Russian forced labourers. When Louisa was betrayed by a neighbour, Ivy took in Feodor Buryi, whom Gould had been sheltering, even though Ivy and her husband were already accommodating Grigori Koslov in their attic. Ivy, Louisa, and their brother, Harold Druillenac, all stood trial for having sheltered the escaped workers, and Louisa and Harold were both sent to concentration camps in mainland Europe. Ivy whom a doctor testified was suffering from tuberculosis at the time of her conviction, was allowed to serve her sentence in Jersey.


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