Caribbean Women Are Moving Ahead
The Caribbean Is One Nation.
We at the Mahogany Coconut have been in the forefront of calling for better treatment of our women and children, especially our female children, who are the victims of increasing acts of: violence, sexual abuse and, in the case of women domestic and spousal abuse. We have noted a dramatic increase in basically all forms of crime and disrespect of our women.
As we reflect on International Women’s Day, which was observed on March 8th. 2017, we are not quite sure that our regional governments, are doing enough to ensure that our women, are being given the opportunities and indeed protection that they badly need. In many instances, legislation is very weakk and the law enforcement agencies seem to be acting extremely slowly in dealing with violence against women and our female children. We are aware that the law enforcement agencies, are sometimes hamstrung, by the archaic and often ineffective laws that are supposed to assist in the protection of our women.
The focus this year was, Women in the changing world of work: Planet 50-50 by 2030. While we concede, that women have made great strides in the workforce in the last four decades, we are convinced that there is a considerable way to go, to sustain this progress. There is still an abundance of harassment in the workplace and in some instances, the good old boys network, still obstructs female progress and opportunities.
The bright spot for our women, is that they are showing higher levels of enrollment, in our tertiary education institutions, and appear to be more earnest, in pursuing educational goals, than our men. At the primary levels girls, have been outperforming boys and the declining number of male teachers has been a cause of concern, in the region, for several decades. Should this trend continue, it is highly likely, that our regional workforce, would be dominated by more and better qualified women in the next two decades.
Our region has an overabundance of men who make up the ruling political class and while we have produced a few female political leaders and Prime Ministers, there remains an appalling lack of women, who are active in the political process. We therefore urge our women to aspire to higher levels and more direct involvement in the political process. With the region now experiencing an embarrassing lack of progressive political leadership, we are convinced that there is more than ample opportunity, for our women to become involved in propelling our region forward.
We are therefore convinced that our women are making great strides but are the victims, of the Caribbean men’s anger and fear as they see our women make progress. Our men are slowly accepting that their societal, financial and other power grips on our women are rapidly evaporating and the psychological blow is quite devastating. The greatest threat to the further advancement of our women folk, is not the discrimination in the work force but the other obstacles, that are reflective of disappearing cultural norms. For women to effectively counteract this, they must seek to become leaders in all areas of national endeavor. We are firmly convinced that they have the ability to move the region and themselves forward.