Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Be balanced on gender debate

Published:Friday | March 11, 2016 | 3:00 AM
Portia Simpson Miller

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I commend the writer of the recently published letter headlined 'Put a stop to character assassination of Portia'. I welcome this contribution to the public debate on gender. However, ever so often, we negate the efforts that have been made towards gender equality by overusing terms like discrimination and bias.

According to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2015, the gap between men and women in health, education, economic opportunity and political representation has closed by 4 per cent in the past 10 years. In economic terms, the gap has closed by only 3 per cent with progress towards wage equality and labour-force parity stalling markedly since 2009/2010. This demonstrates a minuscule advance in the right direction, but the continued push and debate is greatly emphasising the contrasts.

Portia Simpson Miller has represented her country well and has made history both locally and internationally. Her character should never be in for any despicable public debate. However, we need to be clear that not all criticisms of Simpson Miller are based on gender. Words such as 'dunce', 'unintelligent', and 'uneducated' used against Simpson Miller have been used in the past to criticise other leaders, including Sir Alexander Bustamante, Jamaica's first prime minister. Former president of the United States George W Bush was constantly ridiculed in the same way. Were they being attacked based on their gender?

Let us attempt to balance the debate on gender issues as

gender includes both male and female.

Oniel Tobias