Gender in Caribbean Development: Papers Presented at the Inaugural Seminar of the University of the West Indies, Women and Development Studies Project

Gender in Caribbean Development: Papers Presented at the Inaugural Seminar of the University of the West Indies, Women and Development Studies Project

Gender in Caribbean Development: Papers Presented at the Inaugural Seminar of the University of the West Indies, Women and Development Studies Project

Gender in Caribbean Development: Papers Presented at the Inaugural Seminar of the University of the West Indies, Women and Development Studies Project

Excerpt

The concept of gender is undergoing relatively rapid evolution both within and outside of the Caribbean such that it is difficult for those who are not continually engaged in teaching, research or working in related areas to keep up with its genealogy. In 1985 when the details for the inaugural seminar, which later provided the material for this book, were being debated by Women and Development scholars, the popular as well as intellectual interpretation of gender' was more or less synonymous with 'woman'. Why the seminar and later the book was therefore called Gender in Caribbean Development, given the popular currency of thought at the time, is a significant fact worth noting. In essence the competing schools of thought could have been broken down into two major ones. The problematic of feminism was either that of men — male dominance in public spheres, male control of religion, male control and objectification of female sexuality — in other words aspects of patriarchy, or, the ideological, political and economic systems of domination and control in which both men and women were trapped, to the detriment of both femininity and masculinity. The history of gender relations among the peoples of Caribbean society is a remarkably similar one across ethnic boundaries — they were all experimental subjects of European expansionist policies and inheritors of disrupted gender systems, albeit differently placed by class and race within these societies. Feminist activism and scholarship in the region did not develop with the ideologies, programmes and politics that marked the 'womanist' stridency or militancy of North American or European women. Caribbean . . .

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