Rochelle Rowe

Dr Rochelle Rowe

Dr Rochelle Rowe is the Researcher Development Programme Manager at the University of Exeter. In addition to her expertise in postgraduate learning and development, her background is in Caribbeanist research, having completed a PhD in History at Essex in 2010.

Her first book, ‘Imagining Caribbean Womanhood’, a feminist history of beauty in the Caribbean, was published in 2013 and represents her proudest professional achievement so far because, she says, “It represents the culmination of a long journey from conception to reality and the road travelled in bringing into being, which took me half way around the world.”

The late Maya Angelou has been an almost life-long role model for Rochelle. She explains: “I was reminded of how much of an inspiration she is to me only recently when I was asked to give a talk to a women’s empowerment course. I shared the story of when I met her as a child, after she’d given a reading to an audience in south London. My early encounters with her poetry helped me to find my voice as a writer whilst still in my teens. Hers is a brilliant example of living well and squeezing in as many adventures as you can.” It is no surprise, then, that Rochelle’s favourite quote from the American author, singer, dancer and actress is also the advice she would pass to others: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.”

Her academic focus on the post-emancipation development of freedom gives Rochelle a particular insight into the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day campaign, ‘equality for women is progress for all’. She said: “This means being genuinely inclusive in our feminism, so that more people understand that equality for women is very much their business! History shows us that so many liberation movements, feminism and anti-racism, for example, have often been closely intertwined, even at their roots, and have given rise to new struggles and eventually new freedoms enjoyed by more people.”