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“Gender equality: debunking the myth”
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“Gender equality: debunking the myth”

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Shannay WilliamsCan gender equality exist, wonders Shannay Williams, 19, a Correspondent from St. Thomas in Jamaica, as she looks at whether equality means accepting distinct social roles or rejecting that idea entirely.

There is no such thing as gender equality and for all intents and purposes, from my viewpoint speaking as a woman.

How can gender equality exist, when in a West Indian context a man is considered a ‘gyallis’, or admired for having many women in his company, while a woman is considered a dollar short of being a prostitute for the same course of actions?

There are many who will read this article and question my integrity for proposing such a question. To answer their concerns, which they may defend from the perspectives of religion, sexual safety or any other viewpoint, I say it is not my intention to promote unhealthy or unsafe sexual lifestyles. I do not disrespect any religious views or promote gender discrimination, nor it it my intention to insinuate any level of disrespect to any individual or group. My intention is merely to challenge the average West Indian’s thoughts about the status quo of gender relations in the Caribbean and to consider whether it is skewed in favour of one gender, or if it is in fact equal.

When a woman speaks of gender equality, many expect a raging, irrational and possibly lesbian feminist who proposes extreme measures to secure equality for females. Now, I am of the view that if every measure every feminist (the ‘non-raging’ and rational kind) is to be met, then we would find that our society would still be unequal and inevitably set in favour of females, if this isn’t the current reality.

We can fairly say that in a society where races point out that #LivesMatter, black, white or any variation thereof, we will inevitably and constantly debate whether a male or female is more important in the preservation of humanity. To me, it is of very little relevance if most CEOs are males while more females graduate with degrees. However, the fact still remains that this is a very vivid portrayal of inequality.

Equality might appear attractive to most if not a large portion of the Caribbean populace. However, it might not be an ideal we are ready to accept. But what are we accepting? For everyone gender equality has different connotations. For some it might mean the acceptance and carrying out of “social roles”, while for others it may mean the complete decimation of the idea that there are prescribed social roles.

Can every West Indian woman say she would have no qualms if chivalry died because of gender equality? Can every West Indian male say he would be displeased if he could now defend himself against a woman who inflicts pain upon his person? No, we might not. So while gender equality is attractive, we may have to admit that somewhere deep in our psyches we do not desire, or dare I say be ready for, gender equality.

Photo credit: DiariVeu – laveupv.com gettyimages – igualtat via photopin (license)

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About me: I am a student of Morant Bay High school, Jamaica, and I am passionate about the literary and performing arts. I am aspiring to become a real estate lawyer, poet and novelist.

I am guided by the philosophy ‘Cogito Ergo Sum’, because I strongly believe that all we need to produce greatness is a mind. I believe there are no limits to greatness, not even death. I am a climate change advocate in my community, and a patriot.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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