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Social Issues Affecting Females in Jamaica Essay

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Education and Social Issues –Females In Jamaica Education is important for everyone, but it is especially significant for girls and women. This is true not only because education is an entry point to other opportunities, but also because the educational achievements of women can have ripple effects within the family and across generations. Investing in girls’ education is one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty and girl’s results are principally high dividends. In Jamaica I think/ believe girls are cleverer, better-behaved and try harder than boys at school from a very young age.

As globalization calls for higher levels of education, persons especially women are on the move to increase their academic standard. However as time progresses and persons get older some tend to loose their focus due to a number of issues which includes their socio economic status and early pregnancy. According to a study done by University of the West Indies, home factors such as family structure, socioeconomic status, and educational attainment influenced school participation by both sexes; and also that the majority of both sexes in the out-of-school sample dropped out of school between grades 7 and 9.

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It also stated that in comparison more girls than boys continued through to grade 11. Financial constraints were the main reasons for drop-out for both sexes, while pregnancy for the girls and violence in the communities for the boys were the two other frequently cited reasons but as persons gets older they realize the need to upgrade themselves in order to achieve. There may however be some issues to workout as there will now the need for sustaining the new and additional expenses.

Resulting from workshops conducted by the Combined Disabilities Association (CDA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health/Global Fund project between 2006 – 2009, information relayed are that when females want to upgrade themselves academically a number of things are taken into consideration which may need to be adjusted and this includes their household if family is involved and most importantly if they are single parents with little or no income and no one to extend care and close monitoring for the family during their (the mother) absence away at school.

Little or no household income for the family can be a severe problem as the female may have to become involved in sometimes unwanted intimate relationship to increase monetary support, at times the relationship may become violent as the other partner may think the female is spending too much time away from home or him. Other problems may appear as the male partner who is contributing to the household may want the female to bear him a child, this notion may not be welcomed by the female as she is trying to pursue education and this will cause her to pause in her educational pursue or practice unsafe abortion.

Health problems may arise as the need for funds increase which one person cannot provide leading to promiscuity and with the partner’s reluctance to use sexual protection, sexually transmitted disease comes into place, other health problems may be under nutrition as funds are now saved towards the education and meals are scarcely provided for. In an article published in the Jamaican Gleaner in 2007(Jamaica Daily Gleaner), it was stated that Jamaica’s education system favours females; the systematic bias against men pushes them down and elevates women.

Feminists with whom I agree are not comfortable with this thesis, as it is evident among us the many social problems that exist posing barriers to pursuing education. In Jamaica the gender differences in the educational results, include academic achievement (with girls more likely to do better), like high school and tertiary (choice of CXC and GCE A-level subjects), and choice of jobs and careers.

There were also differences in girls’ and boys’ experiences in school. These included exposure to negative school practices such as corporal punishment and verbal abuse, and placement in streams, with boys more likely than girls to be exposed to negative practices or to be placed in lower streams. It is now agreed that schools and teachers play a crucial part in replicating and strengthening gender inequalities.

A recent study of educators, however, shows that there was a general lack of awareness with respect to the concept of gender and ways in which gender operates in the educational process and that these concerns were not being addressed in teacher training institutions The type of school also had an effect on these outcomes; in all girls schools the performance levels of the girls are higher compared to that of coed schools. I think this is because the girls will focus more without the distraction from their inter-action with the boys (i. . the visits to the restroom to repair make-up to impress their male counterparts will be less, there will be no intimate involvement) and also females tend to be more competitive even among themselves. In the schools located in the inner city communities, there tends to be much lower rates of participation and performance by both boys and girls. A girls’ motivation to achieve far exceeds that of boys. Marginalized females will place importance on education and do their utmost to be successful at all costs.

Most females with disability and other females from the inner-city community when given the opportunity do extraordinarily well to prove their worth to society. I know that girls in same sex schools are least likely to be exposed to physical punishment than boys or girls in other schools. There are also significant gender differences in some student background characteristics. Girls are less likely to be absent from school, and most likely to do reading (school related or otherwise) outside of school hours.

I believe a higher percentage of girls than boys regarded education as useful and important for life chances. I think females performed consistently better than males in schools because of their accomplishments in communication skills, higher levels of self-esteem and inter-personal relation skills. Girls are more participatory in general—they focused on academic work, answered questions asked by the teacher, and completed their homework.

It is the tradition in Jamaica for girls in school to pursue the domestic subjects such as home economics, cosmetology and garment construction as females are deem the home-makers while boys are encourage to take-up technical subjects. In Jamaica there are more high school places for girls than for boys there are seven high schools for boys only, while there are 14 high schools for girls only and the co-educational high schools admit many more girls than boys, sometimes two-thirds girls to one-third boys. Females also dominate at the tertiary level and are now being able to get better jobs thus earning more than the males.

Barbara Bailey in 2003(Bailey,B. 2003) produced a document themed “Gender sensitive educational policy and practice: the case of Jamaica” in which she cited a regulation governing student conduct in reference to how cases of teenage pregnancies are treated in Jamaica clearly states:” A student of a public educational institution who becomes pregnant shall be excluded from attending the institution during the period of pregnancy, but the Minister may take such steps as may be necessary to permit her to continue her education in that nstitution or, if convenient, in another public institution such as the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation which is funded by the European Union, UNFPA. The support for this programme has enabled thousands of girls to return to school following pregnancies and to acquire academic and technical skills. I can remember in some household in older times and this may still exist in many rural areas where there were gender biases in regards to education and this was spurned from early socialization issues.

The parents were always in favour of giving the males a proper education or skills/trade while the females were taught to do household duties. In a another document “A Gender Analysis of the Educational Achievement of Boys and Girls in the Jamaican Educational System”(USAID,2005) printed in 2005 a study was also highlighted.

The document also stated that the study also found clear stereotypical gender socialization patterns and expectations for females. Study findings correlate positively with Figueroa’s (a contributor to the research) notion of “male privileging” where females are seen and treated as “weak, submissive, suited to the private sphere, sensitive, caring, and in need of protection. Gender expectations and roles, echoed throughout the focus groups, were expressed in such messages as: “girls know they are special”; “girls have more self-esteem”; “more is expected from girls”; “girls take up their books”; “girls are dainty”; “girls are sensitive, respectful, and kind”; “girls are treated better than the boys by parents and teachers”; and “girls are not expected to be breadwinners. ” All focus-group participants reported that girls get more encouragement, support, and help with homework.

At first glance, it would seem that conditions for girls were more or less better than for the boys. However, as Figueroa suggests, girls are prepared and expected to conform to a culture that restricts them to the private sphere. Student focus groups reported that girls have significantly more household responsibilities from an early age than do their male counterparts. Further, girls reported being more restricted in their movements than boys are. Also, all girls’ focus groups shared the persistent complaint of male harassment and of not feeling safe on the streets.

Comments included: “girls fit better,” “girls are inside cleaning house,” “girls are held tight,” “girls are given more responsibility,” “girls do more homework, “and “girls have babies. ” Thinking of the Millennium Development Goals formulated in 2000 two goals relate specifically to ‘Promoting gender equality and empower women and achieving universal education. Both goals together speak to eliminating gender difference at all levels of education by 2015 and empower women.

A much more inclusive mission regarding gender equality is the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which is a human rights document designed to promote and protect the rights of the world’s women and was adopted by the General Assembly on 18 December 1979. REFERENCES Empowering Women Through Education:”Promoting Gender Equality”Unfa. org, (N. p. ),(n. d. ),n. pag “Academic Achievement at the Secondary level”, Institute of Education-UWI Mona, (N. p. ),(n. d. ), n. pag Women’s Rights are Human Rights:”Segregation in Education”, Jamaica Gleaner News 14 April 2008 “What Is The Influence Of Contemporary Social Issues On The Caribbean Family Life” (N. p. ), (n. d. ), n. pag Failing Education (IV) : “Education bias favours females. ” Jamaica Gleaner News 4 Jul, 2007 , n. pag “A Gender Analysis of the Educational Achievement of Boys and Girls in the Jamaican Educational System. ” (N. p. ),(n. d. ), n. pag Youth Programme Diploma in Youth Development Work Module 5: “Gender on Development” 2007,(N. p. ) n. pag

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