A meet and right honour for a Caribbean scholar Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
March 11, 2002

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THURSDAY’S announcement by the CARICOM Secretariat that the region’s Seventh Triennial Award for Women has been accorded to Professor Rhoda Reddock was a welcome indication that a career of worthwhile research and scholarship has been recognised and commended at the highest level of governments.

Ms Reddock, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, is the head of the Centre for Gender and Development Studies at the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies.

In the words of the CARICOM release, “Professor Reddock’s extensive research and publications include such areas as ‘Race, Class and Gender in the Caribbean’, ‘Women and Labour in Trinidad and Tobago’ and Ethnicity, ‘Class and Gender in Trinidad and Tobago’. Her research has provided an extensive resource base for students and senior intellectuals alike, and has provided our Governments with insightful directions in terms of the integration of gender into the development process…

“Since 1994, she has been Administrative Head of the Centre (for Gender and Development Studies) and has also served a deputy chairperson of the National Institute for Higher Education, Research Science Technology, and member of various regional and international boards. In the year 2000, she was the Claudia Jones Visiting Professor in African New World Studies at Florida International University.

“Dr Reddock has served as Consultant for a number of international agencies including the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Food and Agriculture Organisation; the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, the CARICOM Secretariat, the European Union and the Commonwealth of Learning.”

We are indeed gratified to witness this accolade being conferred on a Caribbean sister, who has devoted many years of her life to investigating, researching and documenting so many important aspects of the historical conditions that gave birth to the character of the people inhabiting this corner of the world.

Like Dr Lucille Mathurin Mair of Jamaica, Ms Peggy Antrobus of the Eastern Caribbean, Professor Reddock has sought to trace the origins of gender and ethnic relations that have helped to shape the outlook of the present day Caribbean man and woman. She has sought and found answers to the questions raised by the earlier generation of regional feminists such as Mrs Nesta Patrick of Trinidad and Tobago; Mrs Janet Jagan, Mrs Winifred Gaskin and Mrs Jane Phillips-Gay of Guyana; and the late Dame Nita Barrow of Barbados.

It can be said that Professor Reddock contributed to the process of defining a Caribbean brand of feminist activism begun by Ms Mathurin Mair, author of “The Rebel Woman in the British West Indies During Slavery” and the Secretary General of the Second United Nations World Conference of Women held in Copenhagen in 1980. Other impressive contributors to this process include Ms Patricia Mohammed, Ms Kathleen Drayton and Ms Amrita Chhachhi.

In an age when so many young persons in pursuit of academic qualifications are content to leaf through any available text and merely regurgitate their readings into long papers and theses, Professor Reddock’s several publications and books are always enlightening because they are solidly based on painstaking primary research gleaned from credible sources.

Besides, she is not afraid to focus her attention on those aspects of modern West Indian existence, which give rise to discomfort and unease in the wider society. For this she must be sincerely commended since her investigations and analyses, if heeded by the keepers of the gates of culture and behaviour could help to promote greater understanding and tolerance in the multi-ethnic societies of the greater Caribbean.

We wish to congratulate Professor Rhoda Reddock on being named as the honoree of the prestigious award -CARICOM Triennial Award - and we hope that her teaching and writings will continue to inspire pride and a sense of place for the people of the region.