La Universidad de las Indias Occidentales (The University of the West Indies, UWI), Campus de Cave Hill, Barbados.
“Don’t reflect on things; just do it -and move on to the next assignment”
Professor Eudine Barriteau
Pro- Vice Chancellor & Campus Principal
The University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus, BarbadosConferred in 2019 with the inaugural Order of the Freedom of Barbados for her outstanding contribution to higher education and her pioneering leadership in the development of gender studies, Grenadian born Prof. Violet Eudine Barriteau is a Caribbean scholar, feminist and activist whose achievements have impacted the whole region. Previously in February 2016, she was bestowed by her native country with Grenada Gold Award for Excellence, the country’s highest honor. With a PhD in Political Science from Howard University, (1994) and an extensive roster of publications in peer-reviewed journals, 37 book chapters, including her book, The Political Economy of Gender in the Twentieth Century Caribbean (Palgrave, 2001), Professor Barriteau holds an MPA in Public Sector Financial Management from New York University (1984), which she obtained as a Fulbright – Laspau administered grantee. At the time of her Laspau application, Violet was a Research Assistant to a Political Science Professor at UWI which required extensive travel throughout the region. In turn, it allowed her to pursue her passions: Political Science and travel, while acquiring a solid knowledge of the region’s culture, history, and development.
At seventeen, Violet started her academic career as a teacher at St. George Secondary School. She had wanted to become an airline stewardess. Speaking French, she thought she had a good chance at it, except that she wore glasses, which was not allowed for an “airline hostess” at the time. Hence, she became a teacher to help support her mother, who worked at odd jobs to provide for the family. “The Caribbean was built on the back of women,” says Prof. Barriteau. Her mother had left Grenada and her marriage, taking along her two youngest children. In Grenada they had lived on their own land, a comfortable life, very different than the one they encountered in Barbados at the beginning of their journey.
Upon obtaining her scholarship, Prof. Barriteau worked with Laspau Placement so she could attend NYU, where she had previously secured admission on her own. In the summers she worked at a clothing store to make up for lost income during her studies in New York.
At Howard University while pursuing her her PhD in Political Science, she took Philosophy of Social Science classes taught by professor Jane Flax, who so much inspired her, that two years into her PhD she changed course to focus on Political Theory. Fascinated by the impact theory on the construction of women’s lives, Prof. Barriteau taught a course focusing on women’s studies. A year later, the Nita Barrow Center for Gender and Development Studies was created with Barriteau at the helm.
Fascinada por el impacto de la teoría en la construcción de la vida de las mujeres a su regreso a la UWI en 1992, la profesora Barriteau enseñó un curso enfocado hacia Estudios de la Mujer Caribeña. Al año, la UWI creó el Centro de Estudios de Género y Desarrollo y la Profesora Barriteau fue nombrada primera jefa de esa Unidad en el Campus de Cave Hill más tarde conocida como la Unidad Nita Barrow.
During her tenure at UWI Professor Barriteau has spearheaded many initiatives impacting Barbados and the region. In 2017, she launched the Smart Campus Initiative, designed to rethink the delivery of higher education goods and services in Barbados and the Caribbean by harnessing technology to support development. Under her leadership the Cave Hill campus gained recognition meeting comparability standards for the Faculty of Medical Sciences from the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA). Also, in 2017, her initiative to create a Faculty of Sport came through, it was the first new school in 47 years. Finally, on August 1st, 2020, on Barbados’ Emancipation Day, the Faculty of Culture, Creative and Performing Arts was inaugurated. For the Professor, this is her proudest achievement. Her creativity, knowledge and accomplishments are awesome; her tireless work on behalf of the Caribbean region and its people is an inspiration to all.