Posted in Caribbean Connections, gender

#LifeInLeggings: Caribbean Women Reclaim Power

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Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and sexual harassment are issues of increasing importance in Caribbean society, where women are hyper-sexualised and masculinity is often demonstrated in the ability to exert power over women. However, Caribbean women have been rising up against GBV by using social media as a tool. A great example of this is the #LifeInLeggings movement. This online mobilization encourages women who are victims of GBV and sexual harassment to use the hashtag to help educate society about the prominence of the issue, change male attitudes and behaviours toward women, and develop policies to support women who are affected by GBV.

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Posted in Caribbean Connections, gender

The Rise Of Calypso Woman

“ They want to see your whole anatomy, they want to see what you doctor never see. They want to do what you husband never do, still you ain’t know if these scamps will hire you. Well if is all this humiliation to get a job these days as a woman. Brother they could keep their money, I go keep my honey, and die with my dignity!”

– Singing Sandra, Die with My Dignity

Calypso is an authentic Trinbagonian pastiche. It is almost impossible to imagine a true examination of cultural creation in Trinidad and Tobago that does not include calypso. If you mean to truly understand Trinbagonian, and by extension Caribbean culture beyond what may be skimmed from the top, it is important to delve into the genre. The lyrics and harmonies will create a deeper understanding of a Caribbean identity composed of quintessential variance. Likewise, calypso provides a sonic focal point for insight into the Caribbean woman’s existence.

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Posted in gender

The Quandary of Child Marriage in the Caribbean

“If you educate your girls you will have everything in the future” were the words issued by Theresa Kachindamoto, senior chief in the Dedza District in Central Malawi. Theresa successfully annulled 850 child marriages in Malawi in the past three years, saving girls as young as twelve years old from a life of destitution and unfulfilled opportunities for advancement.  Indeed, a society needs educated, empowered women at its helm, involved in the running of the country’s affairs.

According the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), across the world, as many as 14.2 million girls will marry before becoming adults annually. In developing countries, one in every three girls is married before reaching the age of 18. In Latin America and the Caribbean Region, 18 per cent of girls 15-19 were married or in an informal union. Here, young boys and girls are still being subjected to marriage, accepted by marriage laws bound in archaic religious principles.

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Posted in gender

Cleansing rape culture from society

How can we address a society where sexual abuse has become routine?

Some might think that the phrase “rape culture,” is simply an exaggerated myth made up by angry, man-hating, bra-burning feminists to push their own agenda.

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However, they could not be more wrong. It is real and it is prevalent in Caribbean society.

Trinidad and Tobago is known all around the world for its Carnival, often touted as “the greatest show on Earth.” As true as this may be, Carnival 2016 was marred by the tragic death of Asami Nagakiya. For people from the Caribbean, right after Carnival Tuesday 2016, scrolling down their Facebook newsfeed, ‘rape culture’ had become the most popular phrase.

Why?

The ludicrous response by the then Port-of-Spain Mayor, Raymond Tim Kee that “Women have the responsibility to ensure they are not abused during the Carnival season,” incensed women and some men all over Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean.

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Posted in gender

Sharda Mahabir – An inspirational Trinidadian woman

Written by – Saffiyya Mohammed

On March 8th, the world recognises women. This is International Women’s Day, and the 2016 theme is #PledgeforParity.

Often, we look for inspiration outside of  our local or Caribbean context, overlooking the change makers we have in our homeland.; the ones who aid in our local causes and work tirelessly to bring about awareness of environmental issues and protection of our resources.

One such woman in the environmental field is Sharda Mahabir. Sharda is the National Advisor for the Trinidad and Tobago Chapter of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) and the Project Manager of the ‘Adopt-A-River’ programme. 

Filled with passion for the environment, she is as dedicated and motivated as she is knowledgeable about local environmental issues, especially as it relates to water conservation.

CYEN in Trinidad and Tobago chose to commemorate International Women’s Day by interviewing Sharda, with the hope that you will become inspired to play an active role  in protecting the environment.

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