Voices of (Mostly) Jamaican Women


I have been to several special events and interesting discussions with women on a range of issues lately. I’ve also taken some photographs of some terrific (mostly) Jamaican women whom I admire. This is a dynamic group… and there are many more Jamaican women with so much to offer in the public and private sectors.

So here we go with a few comments that I found interesting, with photos of the commenters… Enjoy!

Carol Narcisse, Jamaica Civil Society Coalition: "We must keep in mind...What IS in the public interest?"
Carol Narcisse, Jamaica Civil Society Coalition: “We must keep in mind…What IS in the public interest?”
Ingrid Riley, IT evangelist/entrepreneur/blogger: "Because we are now living in the Digital Age, the playing field has become more level, the opportunities are greater..."
Ingrid Riley, IT evangelist/entrepreneur/blogger: “Because we are now living in the Digital Age, the playing field has become more level, the opportunities are greater…”
Marcia Forbes, businesswoman/author/51% Coalition: "A great deal more needs to be done if women are to achieve full citizenship rights and to be equally involved in the development of Jamaica."
Marcia Forbes, businesswoman/author/51% Coalition (with mike): “A great deal more needs to be done if women are to achieve full citizenship rights and to be equally involved in the development of Jamaica.”
Nadine McNeill, global humanitarian: "There is some kind of war on the psyche that's now taking place (in Jamaica."
Nadine McNeill, global humanitarian: “There is some kind of war on the psyche that’s now taking place (in Jamaica).”
Donna Duncan Scott, businesswoman: "Violence against women...is a human being thing, not a man/woman thing."
Donna Duncan Scott, businesswoman: “Violence against women…is a human being thing, not a man/woman thing.”
Greta Bogues:
Greta Bogues, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica: “Corporate governance is not a destination, it’s a journey.”
Sandra Glasgow:
Sandra Glasgow, 51% Coalition, Jamaican Eisenhower Fellow: “Female directors behave differently, bring more to the table.”
Hilary Nicholson, Women's Media Watch: "Gender equality = gender justice."
Hilary Nicholson, Women’s Media Watch/51% Coalition: “Gender equality = gender justice.”
Dr. Ronnie Salter:
Dr. Ronnie Salter, fusion therapist: “We have accepted rape as a way of punishing women…Rape has nothing to do with sex. It is about power.”
Gladys Brown:
Gladys Brown, Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse: “We women trust too much.”
Senator Kamina Johnson Smith (left) sitting with Beverley Anderson Duncan: "Every day, unqualified men are appointed on boards."
Senator Kamina Johnson Smith (left) sitting with Beverley Anderson Duncan: “Every day, unqualified men are appointed on boards.”
Judith Wedderburn, Director, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung/Jamaica: "We need more bredren to participate in gender discussions."
Judith Wedderburn, Director, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Jamaica/51% Coalition: “We need more bredren to participate in gender discussions…Let’s find a win/win solution to the issue of diversity on public boards.”
Beverley Anderson Duncan, gender consultant:
Beverley Anderson Duncan, gender consultant: “Gender equity must mean ‘transformation,'” not “tinkering” in Michael Manley’s words. “We must ask: ‘What more is required of us (women)?'”
Taitu Heron, gender specialist:
Taitu Heron, gender specialist: “Religion in this country has trapped women.”
Linnette Vassell:
Linnette Vassell, Women’s Resource & Outreach Centre/51% Coalition: “We need to overcome the barriers within ourselves.”
Dr. Brenda Wyss, Associate Professor, Wheaton College, Massachusetts: "The neo-liberal market model does not necessarily empower women."
Dr. Brenda Wyss, Associate Professor, Wheaton College, Massachusetts: “The neo-liberal market model does not necessarily empower women.”
Lorna Green, CEO/Chair, Digital Transtec Limited/Women Business Owners: "Develop strong lobby groups and advocate" for more open government.
Lorna Green, Businesswoman: “Develop strong lobby groups and advocate” for more open government.

11 thoughts on “Voices of (Mostly) Jamaican Women

  1. Rightfromyaad -what a mix of patois from yaad and standard English – my psychologist mind reads an attempt to belong ayaard -but leaving that aside every paragraph has some major generalization with no proof excep tto go back to other sources from the blogger.
    Enslaved Africans did not have freedom before Laws were passed – laws enable sanctions to be put in place toensure that persons who don’t agree with basic human rights will be dealt with. If freedom and equality (with or without the blogger’s apostophes) were accepted for all then there is no need for laws. If Human Rights were acceptedthere would be noneed for Charters and Bills for Children’s Rights or Women’s Rights – for are not these groups Human? It is true that denialof their basic rights dehumanizes them and makes them less than.
    Women ARE unequal in business and governance because of traditional gender roles – in order for women to achieve their full potential there has to be provision at the workplace of child care centres and here I congratulate organisations such as JMMB that take the dual role of women in to consideration. But men nurture too – in Europe paternity leave recognizes this. Laws (again) nave been put into place to protect the rights of the vulnerable.
    As for demographics, it is hard to find a sample with men and women of equal age, qualifications and work experience, except amongst the recent graduates. As the years progress the women fall back in terms of qualification. Why? She takes a job that allows her to supervise the children and is prevented from gaining higher academic qualifications. Very few men gain Ph.Ds over 45 but the majority of women with these qualifications gained them in later life.True there are more women at University and more boys as drop outs in the school system and more boys with no role models taught in a boring school system that does not challenge, more boys fending for themselves at the stop lights and more men in prisons or underemplloyed. Who teaches our boys to be responsible caring men? Where are the role models for them to emulate in the schools or the homes? What is the proportion of BoBo Dreads in prison, compared to the rest of the population? I bet it is very few because there are male role models within the community to teach them and nurture them.
    It is not illogical to mete to everyone equal opportunities regardless of gender, race, etnhic group, religion or culture and it usually takes laws to enable this process to occur because for too long there has been entitlement amongst these groupings. But like the parable of the talents, meting out the same to all does not ensure proportionality – because we all have our own agenda but it is ethically and morally right and just. Peace!

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    1. Thanks very much for your comments and for filling us in on some of the issues! There is a huge amount to say on this topic. Of course there is always the need to fight for human rights. We discussed the issue of equal pay recently in a seminar and I should really write more about this and the value of unpaid work in another post I think! I do not understand the word “illogical” in this context, either.

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    2. Equality and equity are different of course. I made a note on “equality”, to make myself clear!

      I would argue that in order to achieve equality of opportunity, whether by gender, race, social class or otherwise, there must be denial of freedom of one group in order to give additional benefits to another.

      It is clear that vsalter did not watch the clip of Thomas Sowell or Friedman. Freedom will break down these barriers, rather than attempts to pass laws to achieve equal outcomes, which is totally illogical to try to achieve…..Let me give an example: Should we give males equality of opportunity to become equally represented in UWI/UTECH graduates? How would you go about achieving that?

      Should we have equally represented male teachers in our school classrooms? Or male and female principals equally represented in all boys or all girls schools? It is illogical.

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      1. Hi again: You seem to be linking the whole thing to the concept of “freedom” – as in free market, etc., I suppose. But freedom is not just “every man/woman for him/herself”! 🙂 That kind of philosophy does not really break down barriers – it is a false freedom that just supports the strengthening of those barriers in some cases. And it is not only about passing laws. I think the concept of equity is a mindset, a philosophy and one that can be “mainstreamed” into government policy as well as strengthened in the private sector. The way to give males equal opportunity to pursue tertiary education – the example you gave – might be to design educational programs that incorporate their special needs and requirements. Not to pass laws. We need to look at obvious deficiencies in education, parenting etc and address those. Your second example is a trifle odd. Schools that were originally designed to cater for one sex only have their place; I was not suggesting that. I believe that we should certainly have more male teachers in classrooms, to provide balance. We need to encourage more males into teaching. Nothing “illogical” about that. This would provide male students with the role models they badly need. In my view, it is all about balance and fairness.

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  2. A note on “equality”:

    We must understand that in order to achieve any semblance of equality, we must first have freedom….If we use laws in an attempt to create equality first, we will achieve very little equality or freedom.

    Women appear unequal in business and governance, because of traditional gender roles. Women raise children and tend to gravitate to jobs that allow them time to raise families. Time and time again, the evidence shows that women and men of equal qualifications, age and social demographics with similar years of experience, earn the same wages….in fact in some instances earn more than men.

    Then we learn that for a couple of decades now, females have been outperforming men in high schools and at our universities; men are over-represented in unemployment figures and prison population statistics.

    To try to achieve proportionality in anything (whether black/white; male/female; Christian/muslim/hindu) whether in professions or otherwise, is totally illogical.

    These links may interest you:

    http://rightfromyaad.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/international-womens-day-topic-dispelling-myths-of-higher-paid-men/

    http://rightfromyaad.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/international-womens-day-topic-a-case-against-equal-pay-for-equal-work/

    http://rightfromyaad.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/thomas-sowell-the-myth-of-proportional-racial-and-gender-distribution-2/

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    1. Dear RightFromYaad: Thanks so much for commenting. I do follow and read your blog and understand the perspective you are coming from, but according to recent Labour Force data, in JAMAICA unemployment among women is twice as high as that of men (16.6% compared to 8.3% for men) when disaggregated. A higher proportion of women are also underemployed. I was really referring to Jamaica. I am puzzled about your comment on proportionality being illogical. I don’t quite see what you mean. For the record I do believe that in the United States affirmative action has been very effective. By the way, I was talking about EQUITY not “equality” – they are not the same thing. Equity is about fairness, balance and lack of discrimination. Thanks for your comments and do visit my blog again! You might also like to read some earlier posts I wrote on women’s issues.

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    1. Hi Corve, I am glad you like it. I have the book on order. Looking forward to reading it. I am interested to hear what she has to say about gender equity and the different ways towards it…

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  3. Thanks for including me among these women Emma. Have a blessed Easter. MF

    Dr Marcia Forbes Executive Chairman, Phase 3 Productions Ltd. http://www.phase3prod.com Media Consultant Author – Streaming: Social Media, Mobile Lifestyles (2012) – http://amzn.com/9769546100 Music Media & Adolescent Sexuality in Jamaica (2010) – http://amzn.com/9769530441 Board Director, United Way of Jamaica Steering Committee Member, 51% Coalition: Women in Partnership for Development & Empowerment through Equity http://www.marciaforbes.com http://www.facebook.com/MarciaAForbes http://www.twitter.com/marciaforbes

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    1. It’s absolutely my pleasure, Marcia. I just wanted to celebrate you and several other women who are doing great work – with a nudge towards 51% Coalition: Women In Partnership for Development and Empowerment Through Equity. (Why aren’t we on Twitter yet? Or are we perhaps?)

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