by Alex Jordan
There is not enough space to speak about all the women who inspire me personally, but I will list a few.
My mother is an inspirational human being with a capacity for kindness and selflessness, which I find awe-inspiring.
Roberta Clarke is a former head of UN Women, whose mind works faster and more decisively than anyone I know, and she makes me want to get sharper.
Maxine Williams was my first mentor in life. I met her when I was 16 and I saw a woman whom I wanted to emulate. It turns out that I was a talent spotter, because she’s now global head of diversity at Facebook.
My sister Claire and sister in law Nicole are also inspirational, as they are tremendous at all they do and I aspire to their work ethic.
Christy Punnett is my yoga teacher, who inspires many people, not just me; but she has made me want to be a better person.
Grace Pilgrim, Varia Williams and Marsha Caddle also inspire me, as they are all accomplished and amazing, but it is their company that I try to emulate. There are many more names I could reference, but the last I’ll mention here is Dame Billie Miller whose strength of purpose makes me wonder if I’ve even ever been serious about anything in my life.
My family and my yoga keep me grounded, although I’m not sure why I shouldn’t just naturally be grounded. I’m an island girl who grew up running about outside and swimming in the sea.
My connection to nature must also be a grounding factor.
I think that a personal mantra of mine in life is that attitude is everything. If you can approach life and challenge with a hearty spirit and a sense of humour, you’ll make out all right, I expect. I don’t know! I’m just here still making out.
We must achieve equality in our communities. This is all of our work because it will take all of us, and also because achieving a more equal space for women in Barbados will benefit the society at large. Dame Billie Miller said to me once that we must have more women in politics as women bring different things – not necessarily better things but different things. We simply need more balance. I know many men who would tell you the same thing. I think another of our challenges, as women, is to include men in the dialogue – and resist the division. After all, it is inclusion we’re seeking.
As a country we could all start treating our children more equally. Making the girl learn the hard work of life (like cleaning, cooking, washing, ironing) and not the boy helps neither the girl nor boy in my estimation. This is not to suggest that men and women aren’t different. Thank heavens, we are! And let me count the ways we enjoy that difference. This is just to say that in 2014 we’re equals and should behave more supportively towards one another. Like partners.
There is great inequality for women living around the world. Here in Barbados I would like to see us address the daily verbal disrespect meted out by men to women on our streets. It is an embarrassing betrayal and indictment of the flagrant disregard with which men reference women’s bodies. And it escalates: men kill women with a sickening frequency in our country. Our silence and inaction make us culpable.
Finally, as women, we should seek equality and call ourselves feminists. Being afraid to call yourself a feminist (I got this from Caitlin Moran) is like being black in the civil rights years in the United States and saying you’re not really into civil rights.
10 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT ALEX JORDAN
- My first name is Kaitlin. Kaitlin Alexandra Jordan.
- I’m both Barbadian and Australian as my mother is originally Australian.
- I have a really silly sense of humour. I’m actually super immature.
- I speak French and Spanish.
- I did my IB (International Baccalaureate), not A Levels.
- I have a weakness for tuna fish. The canned one not the fancy one.
- I am the recipient of a Silver Sony Radio Award for my coverage of Notting Hill and Leeds Carnivals on BBC Radio 1.
- I cry a lot. Sometimes harder than others.
- I am managed by Matthew Ashby at Dream Real Projects.
- I’m taking a yoga teacher training course at Livity Yoga Studio.