Fri | Aug 17, 2018

Gender Justice -UWI must address sexual harassment, says professor

Published:Thursday | May 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Professor Elsa Leo-Rhynie (left) greets Professor Eudine Barriteau, pro vice-chancellor and principal of the UWI, Cave Hill Campus, at the launch of the UWI gender policy at the UWI Regional Headquarters on Tuesday.

The University of the West Indies (UWI) is being urged to address the often ignored issue of sexual harassment on its campuses.

While commending the UWI for the launch of its gender policy on Tuesday, Professor V. Eudine Barriteau warned that inappropriate sexual behaviour must be adequately dealt with for any gender policy to be effective.

"A gender policy, by its existence, signals that the university is willing to move beyond beautiful words and noble ideals into action. With this gender policy, the university has to insist that sexual harassment and predatory sexual behaviour, and a range of sexually coercive actions, are not used to intimidate students and colleagues," said Barriteau, the pro vice-chancellor and principal of the university's Cave Hill campus in Barbados.

"Colleagues, we cannot have a gender policy that is dedicated to promoting gender justice and not actively seek to prevent sexual exploitation and sexual harassment of students and vulnerable members of the UWI community," added Barriteau, during the launch of the UWI gender policy.

She charged that it was critical that issues of gender justice were given priority and added that the university must introduce a number of measures to dismantle adverse practices of power that affected students and staff.

In his address during the launch of the gender policy, Alando Terrelonge, state minister in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, urged the university to ensure that equal priority is given to boys and men.

"Gender has always been focused on our women, and so, we have forgotten the males within our society. When we think of crime and violence, when we think of the unemployability of our young men, it is because, in my view, gender issues have not been inclusive," said Terrelonge.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com