‘One of world’s most rebellious women’

Former Guyana president Janet Jagan is seen in later years and as she looked in youth.
Former Guyana president Janet Jagan is seen in later years and as she looked in youth.

NEW YORK CITY – TIME, the world’s biggest news magazine, has named Janet Jagan, a former president of Guyana, as one of history’s most rebellious women.

In honour of International Women’s Day, the renowned magazine carried an article featuring what it described as some unlikely revolutionaries.

Also named in the magazine’s top 16 were: Joan of Arc (France), Boudica (Britain), Tawakul Karman (Yemen), Corazon Aquino (the Phillipines), Golda Meir (Israel), Phoolan Devi (India), Vilma Lucila Espin (Cuba) and others.

Jagan, who died on March 28, 2009, at 88, was an American-born (Chicago) politician who served as president of Guyana, minister of government, city councillor and deputy speaker.

In 1942, aged 22, while working as a student nurse at Cook County Hospital she met Cheddi Jagan, an Indo Guyanese dentistry student at Northwestern University. They married on Aug. 5, 1943, and she moved with him to Guyana.

She and her husband were co-founders of the People’s Progressive Party, where she served as general secretary from 1950 to 1970.

She was a revolutionary and was jailed for five months with her husband, and later kept under house arrest for two years.

Jagan, who was a top flight journalist, was the longest-serving MP (46 years). She also represented Guyana at the UN and after the death of her husband she became the country’s first female president. She resigned because of ill health.

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