Tag Archives: Gender

Mailbox – Ujima

Claytine Nisbett is a former Wadadli Pen volunteer – she was with us for the 2012 season 

powder necklace

Claytine, right, making a book presentation to one of our 2012 winners.

– shout out to her on her new-ish business venture Finders Keepers in Montserrat and on the recent publication of her first book, Life as Josephine .Life as Josephine

 

This post concerns the revival of another of her projects, Ujima, and her call for voluntary guest bloggers.

Per her email, the Caribbean-based, youth-focused, solution-oriented blog plans to expand when it begins posting on July 1st 2017, focusing not just on youth but on gender – an area of activism for Nisbett. Contributors do not have to live in the Caribbean but they should have Caribbean roots. And they should be between the ages of 16-39. Is that you?

Here are the details.JCH, Wadadli Pen founder/coordinator & blogger

Ujima Solutions Magazine is the Caribbean youth and Caribbean gender-focused blog whose mission is to not only discuss the problems but to present viable solutions to those problems so we can work on them collectively, leading to necessary change.

What sets us apart? The fact that we are not only talking about the problems but we are suggesting possible solutions to the socio-economic ills that are being faced by Caribbean youth, in addition to resolutions to gender-related matters such as domestic violence, limited access to jobs and job mobilization, human trafficking, improper healthcare systems, etc. Though we understand the fact that both men and women are affected by gender-related issues we cannot ignore the fact that women are disproportionately affected. However, we will not shy away from articles that discusses and presents solutions to the disadvantages that men face.

We also do not limit our articles to Caribbean persons only living in the Caribbean. We at Ujima Solutions do realize that we have Caribbean persons all around the globe who may live in an ethnic enclave of other Caribbean people or may be in constant interaction with other Caribbean persons. Those individuals may realize that there are disadvantages that are affecting Caribbean persons within that country and/or community. We welcome your input too! You are free to submit articles to Ujima Solutions Magazine.

Ujima (Swahili) –  To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.

We are always looking for guest bloggers so if you are interested please contact us at cnjnisbett@yahoo.com with your idea and/or article. Blogs must be Caribbean youth or Caribbean gender-focused and solution oriented. Subjects include but are not limited to:

Gender Equality

Youth Development

Finance

Career

Environment

Youth Violence

Politics

Technology

Economy

Health

Violence Against Women

Domestic Violence

Human Trafficking

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“Gender Equality in Antigua and Barbuda” – Call for Papers

The University of the West Indies Open Campus Antigua and Barbuda
and
The Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association

Present

Our 11th Annual Conference
and
Distinguished Lecture

“GENDER EQUALITY IN ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA”

The University of the West Indies Open Campus Antigua

August 11–12, 2016
Greetings All! Welcome to the call for papers for the 11th in the series of annual conferences on Antigua and Barbuda that have been jointly organized by the University of the West Indies Open Campus Antigua and Barbuda (UWI) and the Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association (ABSA). Many of the papers from last year’s historic 10th Anniversary conference will be published in this year’s issue of The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books. For 2016, the theme of our conference will be “Gender Equality in Antigua and Barbuda”. Our keynote speaker will be Professor Natasha Lightfoot, author of the recently published book, Troubling Freedom: Antigua and the Aftermath of British Emancipation. It is our hope that you will be interested in presenting a paper at this important conference.

The changing relations between men and women in Antigua and Barbuda have been for some time now an intensely debated social issue. It is the theme of this year’s conference as a result of overwhelming demand. No other suggested topic came close. Clearly the time to take up this issue in the context of this particular forum has come.

Like many of the other societies of our region and across the globe, Antigua and Barbuda has been going through major changes in gender relations. These changes have been both structural and cultural in nature. That is, they are taking place at the levels of organizations and institutions as well as in the areas of identity construction and the narratives that legitimate our changing male and female identities. These significant changes in gender relations have been driven by the power of four historically reinforcing social movements aimed at changing or reforming the dominant capitalist social order. The first was the Pan African Movement of the early decades of the 20th century, which re-ignited the struggle against colonialism and anti-black racism in Antigua and Barbuda. The second was the international Workers Movement of the 1930s, which gave rise to the trade union movement in Antigua and Barbuda. Third, were the nationalist and civil rights movements across the Caribbean, Africa and Black America, which brought political independence to Antigua and Barbuda.

The fourth social movement contributing to current changes in gender relations in Antigua and Barbuda is the international Women’s Movement. This movement and its issues of gender equality were present but definitely submerged in the three previous social movements. Consequently, all four can be seen as a continuing chorus of different voices calling for change in the European-dominated social order of the early 20th century. The revolutionary and activist practices of the first three movements together with their failure to address the issues of gender equality within their own ranks and in the larger society set the stage for the rise of a global Women’s Movement, which has had very strong responses of support from the women of Antigua and Barbuda.

Gender inequality in Antigua and Barbuda has a long history, as long as the history of our country. It has African foundations, which established men as political leaders and dominant figures, at the same time that women were restricted primarily to the domestic sphere with only limited roles outside of the home in agriculture, marketing and the public life of lineage groups.

On these African foundations were imposed the gender relations of the period of colonization and slavery. As a result, these were centuries of colonial de-gendering – the masculinization of African women and the feminization of African men. The subjectivities of both were radically dehumanized – niggerized – as their labor was brutally exploited to generate profits for the sugar plantations. Added to this already extreme level of oppression was the sexual exploitation of Afro-Antiguan and Barbudan women.

In the post-slavery period, colonial policies of re-gendering according to European patriarchal norms were introduced. This was the era in which the Christian nuclear family was more systematically imposed the structures of the African family that survived the previous period of de-gendering and family disruption. Along with these new policies came the classes in home economics for teaching Afro-Antiguan and Barbudan women how to be good Victorian wives. Outside of the home, much later the fields of teaching and nursing opened as areas of employment for women along with dressmaking, which was done largely in the home. These post-slavery initiatives reached only a tiny percentage of the population. Thus the majority of men and women occupied creole or bicultural constructions of family life that left Afro-Antiguan and Barbudan women without the specific female protections that were enshrined in either the African or European kinship system.

This was the particularly disadvantaged position in which the failure of the post-slavery family reforms left Afro-Antiguan and Barbudan women. They were without the protections of African kinship institutions such as the lineage group and bride wealth, and without those that went with the legal status of a European wife. If we add to these the limited opportunities for employment issues such as spousal abuse, we can easily understand why Antiguan and Barbudan women have responded so positively to the feminist appeals and promises of the Women’s Movement.

The primary purpose of our conference is to assess where we are today with this project of gender equality in the postcolonial period. What have been the new policies adopted by the V.C. Bird, the Lester Bird, Baldwin Spencer and now Gaston Browne Administrations to address the status of women and improve family life for the majority of the population? We can point to obvious areas such as primary, secondary and tertiary education as well as the opening of many new areas of employment for Antiguan and Barbudan women. At the same time, we want to know what are the remaining areas of social life in which Antiguan and Barbudan women still experience gender discrimination. What of pay differentials? What of access to the arena of politics? What of spousal abuse? What of gendered occupations?

In 1997, in her keynote address to the recently opened Centre for Gender and Development at the University of the West Indies (Mona), Johnetta Cole told her audience: “It is we women who are the major participants in the churches, the backbones they call us, frying the chicken, making the roti, but it is the brothers who are almost always the heads, the leaders. It is we women who take the notes at the meetings, organize the buses for the rallies, go door-to-door to get the votes, but the it is always the brothers who are the Prime Ministers”. Is this where we still are today? And if so, what are we doing about it?

To address questions like these we suggest the following themes as guides in deciding the exact topic on which you will present:
Women and the structure of the Contemporary Antiguan and Barbudan Family

Gender policies of postcolonial administrations from Bird to Browne

Gender discrimination in Antigua and Barbuda

Gender and Sexuality in Antigua and Barbuda

Race and Gender in Antigua and Barbuda

Antiguan and Barbudan Women in Party Politics

Women and Education in Antigua and Barbuda

Antiguan and Barbudan women in the media

Growing up female in Antigua and Barbuda

Women in Antiguan and Barbudan music

Women and the Arts in Antigua and Barbuda

Antiguan and Barbudan women in carnival

Women and economic development in Antigua and Barbuda

Recent books by Antiguan and Barbudan women

Women and Calypso in Antigua and Barbuda

If you are interested in presenting a paper at this 2016 conference, please send us a brief abstract that includes your title, your name, and a brief description of the theme of your paper. These abstracts must be received by May 15, 2016. They will enable us to put you on the right panel. Your abstract, in a word document, should be emailed to: paget_henry@brown.edu and to janetlofgren@gmail.com .

Paget Henry Ian Benn Janet Lofgren
President Head Editorial Assistant
ABSA UWI (Antigua) A&B Review of Books

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Mailbox – Gender

montage

I’m a little late posting this but thankfully the 16 days are still in effect. Since the start of knowing myself I’ve been a supporter of women’s rights towards gender equality. So, I was happy circumstances allowed me to be a part of the Orange Day Rally which formed part of the 16 Days of Activism in Antigua. That’s me (your blogger, Joanne C. Hillhouse) in the upper left hand corner of the image above reading part of ‘Genevieve’ from Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, and Corporal Punishment as it appeared in  Womanspeak. Big up to the co-organizers with Gender, Art Culture Antigua, and Intersect – both online platforms clearly spilling over in to the real world, one focused on Antiguan and Barbudan arts and one on gender intersectionality. The above image (and most other images in this post) is pulled from the Art. Culture. Antigua. page as since this page is all about the Wadadli Pen, I wanted to share images of some of the writers participating in the Orange Day Rally. See those below; then keep scrolling for the letter from Gender and for the full programme of activities (from my mailbox). If you’re in Antigua and Barbuda, I hope you’ll be able to come out to at least one and wherever you live, in your every day life, think and act in a way that makes the world a fairer place for all genders.

From left Aziza Lake, Linisa George, and Amaya Athill. Aziza is an open mic vet - though I don't know if she's still writing these days, she produced some really beautiful and thoughtful poetry when she did; Linisa is a warrior for the arts and for meaningful arts most recently through her Art. Culture. Antigua project; and I actually don't know if Amaya writes but I know she's out there making waves and that's artistic in and of itself.

From left Aziza Lake, Linisa George, and Amaya Athill. Aziza is an open mic vet – though I don’t know if she’s still writing these days, she produced some really beautiful and thoughtful poetry when she did; Linisa is a warrior for the arts and for meaningful arts most recently through her Art. Culture. Antigua project; and I actually don’t know if Amaya writes but I know she’s out there making waves and that’s artistic in and of itself.

Michelle Toussaint, author of Now Taking a Lover.

Michelle Toussaint, author of Now Taking a Lover.

Zahra Airall performing a little street theatre, fresh from directing her girls through a critically acclaimed and award winning showing at the Caribbean Secondary Schools Drama Festival in Trinidad.

Zahra Airall performing a little street theatre, fresh from directing her girls through a critically acclaimed and award winning showing at the Caribbean Secondary Schools Drama Festival in Trinidad.

Sighted: the only back to back winner in Wadadli Pen's history, Asha Graham.

Sighted: the only back to back winner in Wadadli Pen’s history, Asha Graham.

Fayola Jardine, talented and hard working young writer; loved her pieces.

Fayola Jardine, talented and hard working young writer; loved her pieces.

Me.

Me.

And now the Directorate of Gender Affairs letter:

19th November, 2015.

To Whom It May Concern

The Directorate of Gender Affairs, a division within the Ministry of Social Transformation and Human Resource Development is embarking on a programme to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Campaign against Gender-based Violence. The 16 Days of Activism Campaign is a global initiative which is recognized in Antigua and Barbuda as an organising strategy to mobilise support for the elimination of all forms of violence against women. The campaign runs from 25th November, International Day for the Elimination of all Forms of Violence against Women to 10th December, International Human Rights Day. The period also highlights 1st December, World AIDS Day and 3rd December, International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year we launch our campaign under the theme “It Stops Here! End Gender Based Violence.”

Gender-based violence is an epidemic in our society. One only needs to look through local headlines and the frequency and severity of violent behavior is astounding. All persons are affected and we need to unite and raise our voices in support of survivors, there is no excuse for violence.

Various events and activities will take place during the 16 Days of Activism to raise awareness and garner support for local initiatives relating to these very important issues we therefore take this opportunity to extend an invitation you and you Organization to participate in the 16 Days of Activism Campaign.

 Church Service at the St. Peters Anglican Church on the 22nd November at 9:am
 Orange Flash Rally on the 25th November from 2:00pm to 5:00pm on Lower Redcliff Street…We encourage you to come out in your numbers wearing Orange as we Celebrate Orange day.
 Open House & Website Launch on the 26th November from 10:00am to 4:00pm of the Directorate on the Corner of Nevis Str. & Friendly Alley.
 Round South Community Outreach at Coco Rose Hall on 26th November in Urlings at 6:00pm
 Youth Connect “Soapbox on Gender” on 27th November from 3:00-5:00pm via Observer Radio 91.1 fm. We invite you to tune in and listen, and call or whatsapp your view.
 Cycle-Cade & Fitness Jam to End Violence on 29th November (Start- Gender Affairs Head Office, up Nevis Str., left unto independence Avenue, Right unto Factory Rd. to the Sir. Vivian Richards Stadium. From Sir. Vivian Richards Stadium to Gender Affairs Head Office- Old Pahram Rd., Down through Pigotts, to ARG Roundabout, left unto Independence Avenue, Right unto Redcliff Str.) from 2:00pm. We invite you to wear orange or purple, however the first 100 persons to register will get a FREE T-shirt. There will also be prizes to be won.
 Movie Night “The Perfect Guy” Followed by a discussion on the 4th December at the Deluxe Cinema.
 Human Rights Open Mic Night at Heavenly Java 2 Go (Redcliff Quay) from 8:00- 11:00

Please see attached the Calendar of Events for the campaign. Thank you for your kind consideration as we continue to count on your usual partnership. Please contact us at 462-3990 for any further information. DoGA Team
Directorate of Gender Affairs
Lower Nevis St., St. John’s, Antigua | 268 462 3990 / 268 462 1411 | Fax: 268 462 9664 | gender@ab.gov.ag

POSTER INSIDE

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DOGA Orange Day Artivism

The Directorate of Gender Affairs in Antigua and Barbuda for Orange Day (August 25th 2015) engaged in something they’re calling artivism – a blend of art and advocacy. Here are some highlights:

A "911" representative, left, with Zahra Airall of theatrical advocacy group Women of Antigua, centre, and new DOGA director Famarla Jacobs, right with artist Martiza Martin and some of the art work on display behind them.

A “911” representative, left, with Zahra Airall of theatrical advocacy group Women of Antigua, centre, and new DOGA director Famarla Jacobs, right with artist Martiza Martin and some of the art work on display behind them.

Ashley Clendenen, you may remember she was a 2010 Wadadli Pen finalist, discusses her art (pictured) with Debbie Francis of advocacy group Women Against Rape and Sowerby Gomes, head coach of the Villa Soccer Academy, former national defender and more.

Ashley Clendenen, you may remember she was a 2010 Wadadli Pen finalist, discusses her art (pictured) with Debbie Francis of advocacy group Women Against Rape and Sowerby Gomes, head coach of the Villa Soccer Academy, former national defender and more.

Claytine Nisbett, a former Wadadli Pen volunteer, and founder of Walking in to Walls (an online advocacy project), alongside art work by X-Sapphair King.

Claytine Nisbett, a former Wadadli Pen volunteer, and founder of Walking in to Walls (an online advocacy project), alongside art work by X-Sapphair King.

Artist Kimberley Gordon posing with her art work.

Artist Kimberley Gordon posing with her art work.

Maritza Martin poses proudly with her art work.

Maritza Martin poses proudly with her art work.

Seven of the 11 featured artists with a DOGA intern (far right).

Seven of the 11 featured artists with a DOGA intern (far right).

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Support Literary Arts at HMP

Props to Wadadli Pen judge Brenda Lee Browne on her volunteer work at Antigua and Barbuda women’s prison, giving the inmates a creative outlet and a sense of their  own power and potential with a pen in their hand.

The programme is getting rave reviews and will hopefully receive the funding it needs to keep going. Here’s an article on the programme. And given her generousity with her time with respect to this programme, it wouldn’t be out of order to mention Browne’s for-hire services as writer and writing coach. While others – *clears throat* I – continue to drag their feet on putting together the long planned follow up to my previous writing workshops, Browne has waded into the deep end with Just Write. Props to her for that as well.

Meantime, I hope to have more on the prison programme, including some of the work produced by the Fantastic Five, for posting on this site. But wanted to give them a mention asap as the women have had their programme graduation and the facilitators are now seeking paint and other supplies for creation of a library in the women’s section of the prison to encourage the ladies to continue reading and writing.

Unrelated but not unconnected is the work of Optimist Club of St. John’s also at 1735, the colloquial name for Her Majesty’s Prison of Antigua and Barbuda. Their latest effort involved creating a library in the prison proper.

Here’s hoping both programmes get the funding to underwrite all the planned initiatives and maybe pay a stipend to the likes of Brenda Lee and the volunteer teachers being recruited by the Optimists to cover various subjects (Math, English, IT, Spanish, Integrated Science, and Social Studies) in the prison.

Contact Gender Affairs (gender@antigua.gov.ag)  if you wish to support either programme. And I hope you do.

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