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(En)Gendering Education in the Caribbean

3/24/2017
Focus on SDGs and gender disparities in education
 

Has gender justice been served in the region’s education systems?
This was the topic that Dr Charmaine Crawford, head of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies: Nita Barrow Unit, delved into at the two-day Sub-Regional Women’s Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals held from March 22 to March 24, 2017, at the Mount Nevis Hotel, St Kitts and Nevis.
The forum focussed on Agenda 2030: Prioritizing Investment in Women and Girls. Participants hailed from Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Under the heading, ‘Repositioning our education system to overcome gender serotypes and break down gender divide’ Dr Crawford highlighted the ways in which secondary and tertiary education still held firm gender biases in relation to differential choices for bachelor, masters and certificate programmes. Therefore, while there were more women enrolled at the University of the West Indies, they were underrepresented in the Sciences Technology Engineering and Mathematics, Economics, and Sports Sciences.
During her presentation, Dr Crawford offered suggestions for improving our current education system to make it fairer for boys and girls, including integrating themes surrounding gender and socialisation into subjects such as Social Studies and Health and Family Life Education.
SDG Goal 5 speaks to Gender Equality. Targets include*:
  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
  • Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
  • Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decisionmaking in political, economic and public life
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
  • Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
  • Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
  • Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels
* from: http://www.globalgoals.org/global-goals/gender-equality/
 
Institute for Gender and Development Studies: Nita Barrow Unit
Telephone: (246) 417-4490-93 Fax: (246) 424-3822 Email: gender@cavehill.uwi.edu