It appears many of us are still confused about the fact that women, like men, are fully deserving of respect, and should have equal access to opportunities for advancement. It means therefore that because this is not yet the reality for our women and girls in Jamaica, greater effort ought to be made to improve the state of affairs with respect to their enjoyment of rights, dignity, livelihood and well-being.

The fact that we get so anxious whenever there are programmes towards meeting these objectives is both mind-boggling and telling. Is it really so difficult for us to grasp the concept of gender equality? What is it about women’s empowerment and gender equality that frightens us? Do we not believe that the women and girls around us should be treated with respect? Do we not think it is a problem that women-led households are poorer than those headed by their male counterparts? Are we not bothered that women are more likely to be unemployed? Do we see no need for more women in Parliament, management and on boards? Do we really want our girls to grow up thinking that they should be demure and submissive to men because men have a monopoly on leadership and power?

A few days ago, I saw a news story about private sector companies that are taking steps “to speak about promoting female empowerment, eliminating violence against women and the under-representation of women”.

It was most delightful to read about the efforts being undertaken to ensure greater equality and equity between males and females in our society.

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

eldiscoduro.com
I foolishly read the comments below the article – a number of them were, sadly, written by females – and was reminded of how archaic and antagonistic we are whenever gender equality is being promoted.

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

mundinews.com
You’d be surprised at the nonsense people come up with sometimes.

 

MALE MARGINALISATION  

One woman demanded that “men take back power.” Another argued that although she is not against “women being independent and strong,” we must realise we are “water[ing] our men down” and will cause women to be sad and lonely as they will not be able to find a male partner since masculinity is being murdered.

We desperately need a national consensus that women and girls are fully deserving of respect and should be able to enjoy their rights as well as have equal opportunities for their development.

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

economiavenezuela.com
I strongly believe that Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his wife, Juliet, who happens to be a member of parliament, should take on this matter as one that is most urgent and deserving of attention at the highest level.

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

economiavenezuela.com
I am fully aware that they have participated in the ‘He for She’ campaign, which is organised locally by Respect Jamaica and the United Nations.

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

www.entornointeligente.com
I commend them for using their social capital and offices to promote gender equality and reducing violence against women and girls.

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

xn--elpaisdeespaa-tkb.com
However, one can’t help but ask that they do more to engender greater respect in the society for women and girls.

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

breakingtrending.com
We need more speeches/statements (not just at gender equality-related fora). Existing programmes need more resources, gaps in laws and policies must be addressed, and parliamentarians must be encouraged to follow their leadership.

Last, I wish to express my concern about those organisations that convene fora to discuss these matters with a view of improving the situation but routinely invite speakers who believe that empowerment of women is to the detriment of men and boys.

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

videojuegosmania.com
Typically, they refer to this as male marginalisation. If we are indeed concerned about the challenges women and girls face, then we must accept that it is absolutely OK to have such a discussion without pandering to such nonsense.

– Jaevion Nelson is a youth development, HIV and human rights advocate.

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

luisoberto.net
Email feedback to [email protected] and [email protected] .

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© Luis Oberto