Female empowerment is a topic dear to many women’s hearts. Some may say that it is not a matter of the heart at all, but that of a way of life. In our first article, we read the opinion of one young lady who was quite forthcoming with her responses. But what about the average man? What is the male’s perspective on female empowerment and issues surrounding Caribbean identity?
To find out, I posed a few questions to one young man, Mr. Kristian Dyer. Here are his views.
A Brief Biography:
Kristian Dyer is 25 years old, Trinidadian, and works at the Ministry of National Security. Kristian likes cars, music and enjoys playing his guitar. What makes him happy? In his words, “Relaxing and enjoying healthy conversation with good company”.
Q & A with Kristian Dyer
- What does being a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago mean to you?
“I never really gave this question much thought to be honest, but if I had to think of something I guess it would be my identity. I cannot identify myself as anyone other than a Trini and I have always been proud to profess it despite whatever may be happening in this sweet little twin island state.”
- Are you proud to be a Caribbean man?
“I am very proud to be a Caribbean man. I mean, what’s not to be proud of? Even though we all may come from different territories, we still have that one unique Caribbean identity – that oneness. I truly love how we as a region rally around people like Usain Bolt even though we may not be from that territory. It truly shows how closely interconnected we are as a people, that even when one of us is doing something great, it is not just his/her territory that is represented, but the entire region.”
- Do you think female empowerment is an important cause in the Caribbean?
“Yes, I do believe that female empowerment is indeed an important cause in the Caribbean. As the world has developed over the years we have to realize that gone are the days when a woman’s main role is being only a housewife and mother. We now see women holding prominent positions in organisations, in politics and in so many other spheres of life and they do quite an excellent job at that. It is my belief that women should be celebrated all the time. I mean they basically can do it all, and they should not be discriminated against because of their gender. The term “weaker sex” is very archaic and reminiscent of the patriarchal society where women are dependent on men for everything and we can see now how that is definitely not true anymore.”
- Do you have a heroine?
“Yes, I do. My mother. My mother was a single parent and while we may have had help from my grandparents, my mother worked very hard to provide for my brother and myself. My dad was and is a drug addict and my mother was determined for that to never happen to any of her sons. She sacrificed and put us through school, always made sure we had everything we needed and it is only now as an adult that I can see how much she gave up for us.”
- Do you currently do anything to help promote awareness of gender-based issues?
“Unfortunately not, but I do feel that I need to get involved in some way because even though this may be 2018, we still live in a society where women are treated as objects by some men, who view them as only good to pleasure males and make babies. A shift in the way we think about women definitely needs to take place and I believe that it can and must start at a personal level.”
- Have you ever felt discriminated against because of your gender?
“I cannot consciously recall an occasion where I was discriminated against because of my gender. However, I can recall an instance where I saw a woman be subject to gender discrimination. I remember I had just boarded a taxi from San Fernando to UWI, I was 19 at the time I believe. The taxi driver was a female and I had gotten into the last seat in the car and the guy who didn’t was upset and actually went as far as to demand that he be given my seat. When the driver refused, his response to her was, “I hope he could help yuh if you get flat tyre.”
The driver simply told him, “I can change my own tyre if that happens thank you very much.” I remembered sitting there thinking, “Who the hell does this guy think he is?” and I wondered what gave him the right to assume that because she was a woman, she was incapable of changing a flat tyre. Not every woman will be a damsel in distress in that event.
I felt so angry and disgusted that some of my fellow males still think in such a sexist and discriminatory way. Unfortunately, in that instance, I didn’t do anything because I felt as though the driver had handled herself very well and she didn’t even have to go to the extreme of “cussin” him out.”
- What are your views on Trinidad and Tobago having its first female President?
“This is a huge step in the right direction for our nation. Justice Paula Mae Weekes, is more than capable of carrying out the role and function of President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. She is highly educated and well respected within the legal fraternity and I believe that she was an excellent choice to fill that post. What disgusted me however, was the speculation that because the President Elect has no husband or children that a nasty rumour began to float around that she is a lesbian. I could not believe that we have sunk so low as a nation, and even if she is, would that stop her from carrying out her duties as the office requires? I think not.”
- What are your hopes for your country?
“It is my hope that Trinidad and Tobago can become a nation that is rooted once more in love and comradery and that our people can stop being so angry and bitter. This is something I pray for every morning.”
- What role if any, do you think men should play in the promotion of female empowerment?
“I think the most important role men can play is just being aware of how we treat women. Women are not objects, they are not weak, in fact I believe women are stronger than most men.”
- If you could switch genders for a day, would you do it? Why?
“I honestly don’t know. It would be interesting to walk in a woman’s shoes for a day and see life through her eyes.”
- Do you believe that your country is on track for increasing awareness/solving gender issues in your country?
“Yes and No. There is nothing concrete that has been done in Trinidad at the legislative level to promote women’s rights. There are a few advocacy groups but I do feel as though they can do more in terms of awareness and not only have a social media voice.”
- If you could implement a policy related to women’s issues, what would it be?
“Good question. It is hard to choose just one, but I would say that there be equal pay and opportunity across the board for both sexes. In as much as there are instances that women are paid the same as men, there are many women who are not given the same privileges as men and we should be working much harder to change that.”
There you have it, readers – one example of the male perspective on female empowerment and Caribbean identity.
We at Patrice Magazine thank Kristian Dyer for his contribution to this important discussion and we wish him the best in his endeavours!
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