As International Womens Day approaches, some Jamaican women are taking the opportunity to look and see how progressive they think the country and the world has been in terms of equality and empowerment for women and women rights.
In an article published in the Jamaica Observer’s “All Woman” magazine today March 4, 2013 they asked the question ‘Do you think as women we’ve finally attained empowerment? How far are we away from equal rights, or have we reached this goal?’ to some women who some may say are trailblazers in the fight for womens rights.
Below are some of the answers given by these lovely women;
Professor Verene Shepherd, director of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies:
If you look at the positions women hold today, and if you look at their education level, then you would be tempted to say we have. But I have to say that as long as the society remains patriarchal, and as long as there is a belief in hegemonic masculinity, then I don’t think you can say that we have totally overcome. The society needs to change and there needs to be a belief in gender equality all around and we don’t have that yet, so I would say that despite the gains, we have some way to go to achieve the total empowerment of women.
Yendi Phillipps, former Miss Jamaica World and Miss Jamaica Universe:
From an international perspective, women have come a far way. I believe that we have grown tremendously in terms of the recognition of our ability, the recognition of us being capable leaders, and of us being respectable citizens of each society or country that we are from. I find that we have more and more leaders of nations as women, we have more government representatives as women, we also have CEOs and general managers and heads of companies as women. Do I think the battle is done and we are content? No! I think that we still have a far way to go in terms of the perception of women and our abilities.
Dr Sandra Knight, chairman of the National Family Planning Board and anti-ageing physician:
Globally the rights of women as it pertains to bodily integrity and autonomy — to vote (suffrage); to hold public office; to work; to fair wages or equal pay; to own property; to education; to serve in the military or be conscripted; to enter into legal contracts; and to have marital, parental and religious rights have increased. Women have come a long way in achieving sufficient status in many societies to propel some even to the highest seat of office. There are gaps, however, and many of these are controlled by males persistent in the concept of what a female should or should not be.
Other advances that women have made, I believe, are precariously close to undermining a few of the fundamental tenets of healthy societies. Research is more and more showing that the empowered female is choosing not to have families (artificial insemination of single females have increased four-fold in the last decade); bartering for sex is acceptable and wildly practised (data shows that in Jamaica it is the more emotionally intelligent females that orchestrate transactional sex); and of course the apparent demasculinisation in the society has seen the increase of violent males who target women for abuse but also unleash terror on others. So have women cone a long way? Yes. But the distance that we need to go should be a guided one.
For more on the article please click the link below, its a very good read.