Iris de Freitas Brazao was born on 29th
October 1896 in what is now Guyana. Iris arrived to study at Aberystwyth
University after a short period in Toronto. While at university, she studied Botany,
Latin and Modern Languages and Law; graduating as Bachelor of Arts in 1922.
Iris continued her studies, was leader of Students’
Representative Council, President of the Women’s Sectional Council, and went on to achieve the LL.B in
1927 before returning to the Caribbean where she became the first woman to
practice law in 1929. Her career highlights also included being the first
female prosecutor in a murder trial in the region.
In 1937, Iris married Alfred Casimiro Brazao
and she continued to practice law in Georgetown. She died in 1989 and her Welsh
connection was rediscovered by staff at Aberystwyth in 2016 when the discovered
a postcard containing a photograph of her in academic robes. The university has
since named a room in her honour.
Tributes to Iris described her as ‘a pioneer and frontrunner of women who dared
enter the exclusively male legal profession’.