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Crusader’s relatives ‘proud’ to carry on the family name

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SOME of the last living relatives of the first woman to stand for election in Jersey say they are proud to carry on a surname synonymous with women’s rights in the Island.

Caroline Trachy was the first woman to stand for election in Jersey and a vocal campaigner for women to get the vote 100 years ago on Saturday. Her only remaining family in the Island to carry the Trachy name are gathering for a picture to run alongside a news story saying how proud they are to carry her name in this anniversary year. Phyllis’ son always wanted to own a house on Rue de Trachy and now he does. l to r Sarah Trachy, Lauren Trachy, Andrew Trachy, Samuel Trachy, Phyllis Trachy. . Picture: JON GUEGAN. (25201079)

Caroline Trachy was a vocal campaigner for women’s rights, and the Women’s Jersey Political Union she founded was eventually successful in getting the law changed so that women could stand for election.

Now, as Jersey marks the centenary of women getting the vote in the Island, Phyllis Trachy says her family is proud to be linked to a woman so instrumental in changing Jersey for the better in the past 100 years. And Phyllis’ son Andrew is so proud of his surname that he recently succeeded in his ambition of one day owning a home in Rue de Trachy.

‘As part of the family of the last living relatives of Caroline Trachy, though by marriage only, my family are proud to say that we are related to such a vocal campaigner for women’s rights and social justice issues,’ said Phyllis.

She added that ‘Caroline’s husband’s grandfather and my late husband’s great-great-grandfather were brothers but the families are believed to have been close’.

And she said: ‘The way women were regarded in society in Jersey has changed enormously for the better over the last 100 years and we believe that Caroline was instrumental in starting this trend.’

Caroline first attempted to stand for election to the States in 1922 but was prevented from doing so as although women had been allowed to vote for three years they were not eligible to stand.

She founded the Women’s Jersey Political Union on 9 April 1923 to campaign for the ‘full political and civil rights for women in Jersey, embracing legal and moral support to women in difficulties caused by present, unjust laws’.

Following a petition from the union, a law passed in February 1924 meant women could stand as Deputies, but only if they were separated.

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A second law, the Married Women’s Property Act, was passed in February 1925, which removed the rate-paying clause from a woman’s eligibility to vote but did not permit married women to stand for election.

Caroline stood again in the 1925 election but was disqualified by the Royal Court and the Bailiff on the grounds that she was not separated. Her response was that she would not ‘prejudice other married women by being separated’ and would continue her fight.

The law was again changed and in April 1928, Caroline became an eligible candidate for the upcoming election.

However, she ranked last in the polls and was not elected.

It would be another 20 years before the first female States Member – Ivy Forster – would be sworn into office.

Lucy Stephenson

By Lucy Stephenson
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