A woman’s cry

UWI principal concerned that females are still marginalized

The first female to lead the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) has charged that women in Barbados are still being relegated to secondary status, 50 years after the country attained Independence.

Professor Eudine Barriteau pointed to the state’s treatment of and attitude to fertility and reproduction as a demonstration of this.

Delivering a lecture on Navigating Ideological Relations of Gender in Post-Independent Barbados as the UWI 50th Independence anniversary series continued earlier this week, the Cave Hill principal said little had changed since 1966 when women’s fertility was approached as “existing to serve the state, and women seemed incidental to the discussion”.

“In fact, the primary economic role the early independent state constructed for women was reproduction. The state incorporated women into state planning through population control, reproduction of the labour force, and the maintenance of the family,” she noted, adding that the conversation never took into consideration the very people who carry and deliver babies.

“Oh, how things change and yet remain the same,” Barriteau declared as she pointed to similar attitudes today.

“Throughout Barbados’ 50 years of Independence, the state has maintained an abiding interest in policing women’s fertility. From 2014, politicians and public commentators expressed growing concerns about the declining birth rate and slowing population growth. In the 1960s, development planners worried about the exact opposite. They wanted to regulate women’s capacity to reproduce the labour force by reducing women’s fertility to serve the state’s objective of maintaining adequate population levels,” she added.

Barriteau noted that after Independence, that “anxiety with women’s fertility and population growth” continued until 1989, by which time the birth rate had declined from 28.9 per 1000 in 1961 to 15.7 per 1000.

The last census released by the Barbados Statistical Service in 2013 put the island’s total population at 277, 821.

The university principal noted that in 2014, Minister of Education Ronald Jones had called on Barbadians to make more babies to boost the population to 325,000.

“The minister seemed to be making a case for a larger population so that both Government and the private sector would have access to a larger and more diverse consumer and tax base,” she said.

More recently, Barriteau highlighted, chairman of the National Assistance Board Senator David Durant reportedly suggested that monetary incentives should be given to married couples to encourage them to have more children. The Government Senator had subsequently sought to clarify that report, contending that what he had said was “it would be good to give people some incentives, because whenever you talk to people about making children, they say ‘Pastor, it’s too expensive’.”

Nonetheless, Professor Barriteau noted that the current situation “led to politicians making public declarations about women’s fertility”.

“Do also note the gender ideologies embedded in the coded language of the Senator, indicating it is married couples who should be incentivized for increased childbirth,” she added.

“There is no recent statistical evidence to suggest that the majority of children are born to married couples, but it is certainly consistent for Government officials to create or reinforce gender ideologies around marriage in attempting to explain or influence women’s behaviour.”

6 Responses to A woman’s cry

  1. Brien King
    Brien King November 18, 2016 at 5:28 am

    The primary use of a woman throughout earth history, was to produce children, which is the woman’s main purpose, sense for the most part after her fall in the beginning she is incapable of her first main role to man as a help meet. Mankind was to operate on earth with the GOD of heaven as his head but with the fall of mankind through a woman’s ambition to have more than what she was granted, here we are. All people on earth are slaves to others outside of the GOD of heaven, so let it not be a surprise that the state, who took over the slave ownership from private owners, wouldn’t put measures in place to suit its agenda, after all, they OWN you. I thought you people do real history at these so called higher education schools? Control history lesson is no real history.

  2. Marsha Layne
    Marsha Layne November 18, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Sigh…here we have the thoughts of a christian man on the matter…i feel gladder everyday that I do not know this blonde haired, blue eye god.

    • Brien King
      Brien King November 18, 2016 at 6:23 am

      If you are referring to picture that hypocrites have in their homes and churches etc, no HE doesn’t look like that. And are glad now but will be sorry later if you remain as you are. Note, the real LORD GOD or JESUS , isn’t no way like the one being taught about in religious churches, try and read and understand who the real JESUS is like.

  3. BaJan boy November 18, 2016 at 6:40 am

    Why this idiot Brian King don’t stop writing these senseless,meaningless poor grammar concoctions. Cannot describe them any other way the man is just iliterate and won’t shut up.

  4. Zeus November 18, 2016 at 9:26 am

    Bajan boy when are you going to start offering your opinion on the subject matter rather than criticize persons voicing opinions

  5. Sherlock Holmes. November 18, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    Bajan Girl shut your clap trap, it is only within recent that you have learnt to spell the word illiterate correctly, i am sure that you would have employed the spell check in this case as i had to draw it to your attention on numerous occasions and you still spelled it incorrectly.


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