Women's Issues In Guyana


The disappearing male

Posted in Culture & Society,Education by wiig on July 1, 2007
Tags: , , ,

Kaieteur News – July 1, 2007
Editorial

It has long been realized that men seem to be careless about academics. In fact, they seem most unlikely to be involved in the mainstream of economic activities and this does not augur well for the future of the societies.

From time immemorial, the male has always been the leader of the pack, responsible for the survival of the species.

But something must have gone horribly wrong in the West Indian society although we now hear that this situation of the disappearing male is not unique to our part of the world, although we fear that the influence to the West Indies has spread to these societies.

On Friday, the news out of Trinidad and Tobago was that 72 per cent of the female students formed the bulk of those who will now be entering secondary school. It is indeed a most remarkable statistic since it was long touted that the male was better equipped to deal with mental issues.

We have noticed that men are not seeking jobs as teachers, and even in traditional male enterprise they seem to have surrendered their pride of place to the woman. So we have the bulk of the public service being women; most of the teachers being women; most of the security guards being women; and even the bulk of the prison service being women.

It tells a story of men walking away from the world of work and sociologists have posited numerous theories. Some argue that the male has found it very unprofitable to work for the sums of money being paid as wages and salaries. Others contend that the male has once more become a free spirit bent on a life that is unencumbered.

Whatever the case, the change from a male-dominated workplace to a woman-dominated one seems to be heading in a direction that suggests some measure of permanence and indeed the situation would only become more pronounced as time progresses.

The situation as discovered by the Trinidadian authorities must have stemmed from the absence of the male in significant numbers, from the numerous classrooms. Young men, therefore, are largely uncontrolled since the female teacher often feels threatened by the dominant male figures in her class.

She has power but little else and these days administrative power alone passes for little.

The absence of supervision, then, helps to push the male student toward relative inactivity on the academic world with the result that he learns precious little and therefore surrenders his place in the world of work to the more academically qualified woman. But where does this leave the society? The male is still expected to provide for a family and if he cannot earn then he seeks to make money through what may be the easiest way for him.

In the West Indies this translates into drug dealing and other criminal activities. In Guyana this would explain the rash of criminal activity that does not exclude domestic violence.

The violence could stem from the male insecurity since the woman is now the dominant worker and he is the dependent or someone who no longer holds pride of place in the family because of his diminished earning potential.

Yet, for all this, it is the criminal activity that holds out the most fears for the wider society, and if this trend of male inactivity continues, then no one would be safe from the armed bandits. Their numbers are increasing and the extent of violence is expanding. None is exempt from a robbery attack unlike the days not so long passed when businesses and rich people were the targets.

We now learn that people in low income homes in places like South Sophia who already have precious little, are not exempt from attack, if only because they have a little more than others in the society.

The situation has not yet hit rock bottom but something needs to be done, and in a hurry. One would expect that parents would have recognized the trend and since each parent wants the best for his or her child, then that parent would insist on certain behaviour patterns. He or she would also ensure rigid adherence to academics, thus reducing the further decline of the male child.

But alas, parenting skills are also diminishing so perhaps the focus should now be on training the parent rather than on the child who is preparing to leave the school environment.

Whatever it is, something must be done hurriedly, failing which we may be presiding over the collapse of the society as we know it.

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