Campus News

Kelsie Joseph of IGDS Ignite! wins 2022 Sociologists for Women in Society Award

Kelsie Joseph of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) Ignite! is the recipient of the 2022 Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) Undergraduate Social Action Award.

The Undergraduate Social Action Award is given annually to recognise students making a substantial contribution to improving the lives of women in society through activism. The SWS honoured her at their virtual awards ceremony on February 7.

Kelsie is an undergraduate student currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology, with minors in Gender and Development Studies, and Criminology. She is the co-founder of Cat Calls of UWI, a social media project of the IGDS Ignite! that highlights street harassment and gender-based violence (GBV) through chalking, consciousness-raising, and outreach. She is also a member of Chalkback, a global network of organisations and groups challenging street harassment. Kelsie defines herself as a feminist activist committed to creating a gender-just world.

“This award is not mine but a win for the entire IGDS family!” said Kelsie. “Congratulations to all the lecturers, mentors, and Igniters! I also congratulate everyone who supported the Cat Calls project by volunteering and sharing their stories. I feel grateful for all the mentorship, guidance, and support.”

The IGDS Ignite! is a student-led, undergraduate feminist activist group at The UWI. Their work focuses on education, outreach and advocacy for gender and rights-based issues. It is a mentorship programme, designed to train future generations of students in Caribbean social justice advocacy and organising. Students are supported by the staff, graduate students and partners to develop their knowledge and skills to bridge academia and activism. Over the years, students have engaged in organising marches and fora, creating online campaigns, conducting student surveys, initiating popular activities in public spaces in relation to issues of gender and sexual violence, securing representation of gendered perspectives on student governance committees, and much more.

Kelsie said, “I started UWI wanting to pursue law and never imagined I would become a feminist activist. The IGDS has provided me with a safe space and community of folks that have transformed me in ways words can't describe. It has connected me with a community of feminist activists from Chalkback.”

She plans on initiating an IGDS Ignite project to draw on the activities undertaken, and the lessons learned by students, and to use them as the basis for a peer-led pedagogical, online approach to Caribbean feminist activism.

For the official announcement and more information on SWS, visit

For more information about IGDS Ignite! and Cat Calls of UWI, visit or @igdsignite and @catcallsofuwi on Instagram and Twitter.