Affirmative action for Jamaican boys?
Males being outflanked by females, says Gov't SenatorSaturday, July 24, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Noting that the state of males in Jamaica needs urgent attention, Government Senator Natalie Campbell-Rodriques has questioned whether the island was at a stage where there should be affirmative action for boys entering universities.
“I am convinced we are at that point when this must be a consideration. The gender fight and struggle has not been about one gender outflanking the other; it has been about parity. We will have a problem if our society has a shortage of highly educated and emotionally stable males,” she argued.
Affirmative action refers to policies seeking to include particular groups based on their gender, race, sexuality, creed or nationality in areas in which they are underrepresented such as education and employment.
She made the suggestion as she lamented that too many of the country’s males are operating outside of the halls of structured society.
This, she said has manifested itself in various ways, including in the fact that significantly more females than males are attending and ultimately graduating from tertiary institutions.
Campbell-Rodriques made the observation on Friday during her contribution to the 2021/2022 State of the Nation Debate in the Senate. She pointed to undergraduate degree enrolment for the 2019/2021 period, at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus for the age group 24 and under. It paints a worrying picture in terms of the gender gap.
Among enrollees in engineering, 40 were males and 30 were females with males making up 57.1 per cent of the total. In the faculty of humanities and education there were 74 males and 209 females with males accounting for just 26.1 per cent of the total.
Among law students in the age cohort, 34 were males while 135 were females with males accounting for just 20.1 per cent of enrollees. In the medical sciences, there were 96 males and 513 females with males accounting for a mere 21.9 per cent of those enrolled.
The statistics show that in the social sciences 471 students were males and 1038 were females. Males had a representation of 31.2 per cent. Meanwhile, in sports, 24 males and seven females were registered with males accounting for 77.4 per cent.
Campbell-Rodriques acknowledged that the disparities she has highlighted are from a single year “but they are not an anomaly”.
“At the moment our boys are being crushed and we must act to save their future. Our country needs an educated, emotionally intelligent and mentally healthy population of both men and women,” said the government senator.
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