BVI News

INSPIRE BVI: Kaydia breaking gender barriers

By Davion Smith, BVI News Online Journalist

Kaydia Smith, at only 13 years old, already experienced the glare of gender bias.

She however is on a mission to help curb it by showing the world that females can reach the pinnacle of any profession their male counterparts now dominate – especially in the sporting arena.

Kaydia got off to a spectacular start when she outclassed all of the males who yesterday tried to top the Soapbox Derby, which is an annual family event hosted by Caribbean Insurance Limited at the H Lavity Stoutt Community College, Tortola.

“The people (at the derby) were saying all kinds of [negative] stuff… But I didn’t study anybody; I just win. It feels awesome and I am proud of myself.”

“I want to change everybody’s minds and show that girls can do anything… I would also tell other girls that they could be champions, girls could be heroes, girls could do anything – not only boys. This (my victory in the derby) is proof of that today,” said Kaydia, who was one of two females who participated in the event.

Andrew Monsanto, who is caretaker of the superhero-themed soapbox that Kaydia rode to victory, said he needed a last-minute driver and the young lady volunteered.

“The young lady was so brave. She saw me and said ‘Sir, can I drive for you?’ I asked if she was really up for it and she said ‘I am brave…’ That’s why I give her the opportunity. She did it – no competition whatsoever,” Monsanto told BVI News Online.

Honour roll student

Kaydia, who is a Grade 7 student at Elmore Stoutt High, represents the educational institution in athletics and basketball.

“I’ve always been interested in sports. I play basketball and I like it. What I was really aiming for is playing football, but I noticed that no girls were in it. People would say that girls are not good enough or they are too weak to do this type of sport. But I don’t think what they are saying is true. You just need to work hard to accomplish the goal,” Kaydia further said, adding that she considers herself a cross between a ‘tom boy’ and a ‘girly girl’.

“I became interested in sports since I was six years old,” she continued. “I used to watch a lot of sports with my mother and father. My grandparents used to watch a lot of it too, so I got interested in sports such as football.”

Meanwhile, Kaydia’s effervescent mother, Nadia Thomas, told BVI News Online that she hopes her daughter will defend her title at the derby next year.

“She will be back and she’ll be better with her own personal go-cart… Kaydia beating the boys proves that women or females can do anything that they put their mind to, and that is something that I always instill in my children,” the mother further noted.

Kaydia’s mother further stated that her daughter is not only strong in sports. She is also a force to be reckoned with in the classroom.

“She has always been a high-achiever in anything that she puts her mind to. Kaydia is doing really well. She actually made the honour roll, and she will be going to second form. She has good time-management skills. I am basically the backbone. So, whatever it is I can do to support, I am always there pushing her,” the proud mother further told BVI News Online.

Kaydia, in the meantime, does not know how far she will go in professional athletics. She noted other ambitions such as studying medicine, law, or the performing arts.

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