The acceptance of women as authority figures or as role models is an important step in female education…..It is this process of identification, respect, and then self-respect that promotes growth. Judy Chicago.
Professor Violet Eudine Barriteau, is both an exemplary authority figure in her role as Deputy Principal and Professor of Gender and Public Policy of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus and a most outstanding role model for women throughout the Caribbean. Her rich contribution to the advancement of women’s empowerment and gender equality, through her advocacy, teaching, research and publications in the field of Gender and Development has long been recognized by the Region and international communities. To Violet Eudine Barriteau, much respect is due.
Respect is due for Professor Barriteau’s rich academic background: she began her training in teacher education at the UWI School of Education in Cave Hill and later qualified at the Bachelor’s level at UWI Cave Hill in Public Administration and Accounting. Graduate work took her to the United States of America where she gained her Master’s degree in Public Administration, specializing in Public Sector Financial Management from New York University in 1984. She was awarded the PhD in Political Science with a specialization in Political Economy and Political Theory in 1994 from Howard University in Washington.
Respect is due for the quality of Professor Barriteau’s prolific research and extensive publication record. She received the University of the West Indies Press Inaugural Award for the bestselling text book published by the UWI Press for the year 2004, Confronting Power, Theorising Gender: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in the Caribbean. She was also awarded the Commonwealth Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Gender and Health. Her role in strengthening research and teaching and building knowledge on Gender and Development, and Caribbean women as catalysts for change has been exemplary. Special recognition and respect is warranted in acknowledging Professor Barriteau’s development of an original model for theorizing and analyzing Caribbean gender systems, which has been adopted and adapted by the CARICOM Secretariat to inform its framework for mainstreaming gender in key CARICOM programmes on Gender in Development. She has also provided policy advice to the Government of Barbados on central matters related to Gender in Development.
Respect is due for her leadership of the Centre for Gender and Development Studies, Cave Hill (now the Institute for Gender and Development Studies). There, she initiated and managed an interdisciplinary research project Caribbean Women Catalysts for Change which led to the publication of the seminal work on Dame Nita Barrow, Stronger, Surer, Bolder; Ruth NitaBarrow, Social Change and International Development. The project also researched the public life of Dame Eugenia Charles and Professor Barriteau coedited the book Enjoying Power: Eugenia Charles and Political Leadership in the Commonwealth Caribbean. A successful output of the project was the Nita Barrow Women and Development Specialist Collection which was made accessible to researchers in February 2005 and formally launched on November 15th 2006. Under her leadership also, The Centre for Gender and Development Studies acquired the primary papers, diaries and documents of these two outstanding women leaders in the Commonwealth; Dame Nita Barrow, Governor General of Barbados (1990-1995) and Dame Eugenia Charles of Dominica, the first female Prime Minister in the Caribbean (1980-1995).
Respect is due for her contribution to the objectives of women’s empowerment and gender equality in the non-governmental arena. This contribution has combined with, yet also transcended, the academic realm to have a powerful impact nationally and internationally. Professor Barriteau served as Regional Coordinator of the Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), a South-South network spanning Africa, Asia, Latin America the Caribbean and Arab world, which contributed significantly to the United Nations Conferences on Women, Development and Peace. She held this position during the period 1996-1999 during which time, the Caribbean Region and Caribbean women led by DAWN played a pivotal role in supporting, monitoring and holding the Regional community accountable for the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. She also served as the Chair of the International Association of Feminist Economics from 2009-2010.
Respect is due for the passion for justice, equality, women’s empowerment and the advancement of knowledge and research which she has brought to the chairmanship of a range of committees in her role as Deputy Principal. She presently chairs the Staff Development and Campus Lecture Series committees, Student Services Advisory committee, the Campus Committee on Sexual Harassment and the Campus Committee for the Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence among others. She combines these activities with her role as Coordinator of the MPhil/PhD programme, and the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, UWI.
It is no wonder, given the many facets of Professor Barriteau’s outstanding scholarship and impressive career, the respect due to her has been demonstrated in the conferral of several awards and honours. She was named International Fellow of the Centre of Excellence in Research on Gender GEXCEL Orebro University in Sweden in 2008 and 2010; a Senior Fulbright fellow, Howard University Washington; the Dame Nita Barrow Distinguished Women in Development and Community Transformation Inaugural Fellow, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto; an American Association of University Women Scholar; and a Barbadian Woman of Excellence, National Organization of Women, Women in Excellence Photographic Exhibition. She was also recognized and awarded as an Exemplar for the Principle of Nia purpose by the Commission of Pan African Affairs.
The role that Violet Eudine Barriteau has consistently and passionately pursued in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women has raised the profile of gender and development in academia and the Region and has contributed in no small way to the achievement of Caribbean national and international goals including those signed under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) the Beijing Platform for Action and the Millennium Development Goals.
This eminent Caribbean citizen whom we honour today, was born in Grenada and is a citizen of Barbados where she grew up. She is worthy of our respect as she has broken the glass ceiling against tremendous odds, both as a migrant and a woman. She has maintained her vision, her passion and her friendships; not only with her academic and professional colleagues, but also with persons from the early days of the challenges which came with settling in a new country as a young girl. Her justifiable pride in her accomplishments is shared by her son, Cabral who is here with us today.
For her outstanding contribution to the field of Gender and Development and her role as a powerful exemplar of self-respect, self-discipline, vision and leadership, it is with pleasure that the Caribbean Community now invites Professor Violet Eudine Barriteau to accept the Tenth CARICOM Triennial Award for Women.