The following is a Biographical Profile on Community Builder, Gwendolyn Margaret Lizarraga (1901-1975)
- Gwen Liz was bom in Maskall Village and was educated at Mr. Datsun Primary School, St. Mary’s Primary School and St. Catherine’s Academy.
- She was a mother, a business woman, a successful chicle and mahogany contractor in northern Belize.
- Unlike the typical woman, she wore pants, carried a gun, publicly smoked cigarettes and even drove a land rover.
- Before her political career she formed the United Women’s Group to assist women in unfortunate conditions, and help the sick and the poor.
- Madam Liz was the co-founder of United Women’s Credit Union and even if a woman could only afford to save 25 cents per week she was encouraged to save. During that time a domestic earned roughly $1.50 per week to wash/iron and about $8.00 a week full time.
- April 1961- Gwendolyn Lizarraga first elected into politics and became the Minister of Education, Housing and Social Services, representing the Pickstock division in the National Assembly. Gwendolyn Lizarraga was the first woman to be elected to National Assembly as well as the first woman minister (Minister of Education).
- 1965- In her second term she served again as Minister of Education, Housing and Social Services and assisted people in acquiring their housing lots.
- 1969- As Minister of Education and Housing the building of low cost homes began in King’s Park, Lake Independence and Queen’s Square areas. Under her ministry the first junior secondary school was established in 1968.
- She was awarded the Member of the British Empire (M.B.E.).
- Gwendolyn Lizarraga passed away on June 9, 1975. Pallbearers for her funeral at Lord’s Ridge Cemetery included the Premier Hon. George Price and Deputy Premier Carl Lindbergh Rogers.
Information Courtesy: National Heritage Library
Photos Courtesy: National Heritage Library & Belize Archives and Records Service
How to cite: ISCR/NICH. “Gwendolyn Margaret Lizarraga.” Belize’s Heroes, Patriots & Benefactors Exhibit. Retrieved from: [Insert BHA Website URL]
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