Tribute to Caribbean women
Guyana Chronicle
March 25, 2002

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I congratulate newly appointed Professor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus Dr. Rhoda Reddock on being the recipient of the CARICOM Triennial Award for Women 2002. I commend her for her contribution to the socio-economic development of the Caribbean Community as well as for her work as head of the Centre for Gender and Development Studies at UWI.

It should be noted that the announcement of the award to Dr. Reddock was made as part of the message of the CARICOM Secretary General for International Women's Day on March 8th. I wish to point out that she not only supports the women's day but also International Men's Day which is held on November 19.

She believes that with the significant changes women have experienced, men are now forced to look at their own lives and re-think many of the things, which are taken for granted.

I remember her saying at the International Men's Day observance in Trinidad that there were men more powerful than others and went on to add that there were also men who sought to change the situation of men while others tried to stop them from making those changes.

Dr. Reddock added: "Preliminary studies have shown that the low value placed on women and on things which are female and feminine have a very important impact on the choices that men make." She said: "Whereas girls and women gain prestige by entering predominantly male fields, male subject areas, male jobs and occupations, the situation doesn't work the other way around."

She feels that boys do not gain prestige by entering activities that are pre-dominated by females. Therefore girls have greater flexibility in moving through subject areas, occupations, activities, social economic etc.

The recipient of the CARICOM Triennial Award for Women said: "Whereas women enter more and more fields of activity, men leave those fields and are finding themselves with fewer and fewer spaces within which to feel that they are real men; and, therefore, many men feel that their backs are against the wall because women are moving into those fields."

Stating that men can also expand their options and move into women's

fields, Dr. Reddock added: "In transforming the situation of men we also have to remove that negative value associated with women and with things feminine, so that men also have the freedom to make choices, which end up being in their own interest."

She said: "The issues of masculinity and femininity are very complex ones. Because we are all men and /or women, we feel that we can deal with the problem, that we understand it, but the more and more we study this situation and this issue, we realise the need to really come to grips with some of the fundamentals if we are really to deal with it. I think we need to understand the significance of the change that is presently taking place."

She noted: "The revolution in women's status, although it is unfinished and in many ways incomplete, is one of the greatest transformations which has taken place in this century." She stated: "It is a transformation that is being experienced with much pain, much fear and much fallout."

She continued: " We are seeing the effects of this transformation everyday. It is difficult and we are struggling to get through it. But at the same time it is up to us to make this a positive change." She believes we should all be involved in shaping the form that this new man and new women of the future takes.

The CARICOM Award is given to honour a Caribbean Woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the socio-economic development of the Caribbean Community. The Award is made on a triennial basis and takes the form of a medal crafted in gold. Dr. Reddock is the second Trinidad and Tobago recipient since the Award was instituted in 1984. Trinidadian Ms Nesta Patrick received the first award followed by Dame Nita Barrow of Barbados(1987), Dr Peggy Antrobus of St Vincent and the Grenadines (1990), Ms Magda Pollard of Guyana (1993); Dr lucille Mathurin-Mair of Jamaica (1996) and Professor Joycelin Massiah of Guyana (1999).

Harrack Balramsingh,
Coordinator, International Men's Day=20
44 Dumfries Road,
La Romain,
Trinidad, West Indies