How could a ‘brains trust’ on collective responsibility not include women?

Dear Editor,

I happened to stumble, late as usual, across the news that Caricom and the UWI supposedly  “planned” a conference on ‘Collective Responsibility for the 21st century.’

If they really “planned” it, as we must assume, then they must explain what they mean by ‘plan.’ How could reasonable people meet and plan such a conference and show such lack of responsibility. The flyer notifying the conference featured 11 persons of the kind of capacity to meet and talk about such high matters. As we now know from Diaspora  (Stabroek News) and from  a few other reliable sources, the brains trust was made up of  eleven men. No woman was included.  The full conference, it seems, had twenty-three men and two women taking part. It appears there were no young people.

I can be generous and pro-male and suppose that the plan, which appears more like a plot was not intended.  If it was not intended we are in a worse state yet. It means that the mindset is so deep, the awareness of reality is so feeble and the social sense is so absent that they could sit, stand, huddle, skype or email one another and accept such a result, in the name of Collective Responsibility.

I am older than the mature men who brought forth this scandal. Is this the 21st century we expect women and young people to look forward to?

I feel that women and young people can represent  themselves and the future and am not seeking to act for them.

I am seeking advice from men and from women and youth who do not mind giving it, to advise whether a signature campaign will be the right way to let the Councils of the Wise know that they do not have our support.

Caribbean women from Nanny to African Janet, from Mama Culley to Rajkumari Singh, from Elma Francois to women of the present day have actually been in the front lines in education, in child delivery in struggle in community, and were the driving force at a Bejing historic world conference.

Are our male front runners tired, forgetful, or unreformed? My proposal for comment is a strong statement with signatures to say to them: This is not the world we want.  Remove the chains. Stop it. Get real. Let us not hear such a thing again. It is the same absent mindedness (ie, smugness, lack of concern) that allows domestic violence and other abuses. We demand a public assurance that these ways are over for good.

Finally I think I am afraid that the world will begin to look on Caribbean men as motherless.

Yours faithfully,
Eusi Kwayana

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