Needed: More female cartoonists
THE EDITOR, Madam:
Unemployment among the youth population is most troubling, especially for young females. As a result, new career opportunities must be sought in order to provide employment for those seeking to join the labour force.
There was a recent Washington Post article that was quite interesting. This particular news item was interesting for many reasons; one of which was the focus on gender and female empowerment, two issues that should be of concern to all of us.
There are two national newspapers in Jamaica. It is debatable that among the most popular sections of both newspapers are the cartoons. Our cartoonists are usually very in tuned to the heartbeat of the society and their satirical commentary through the form of cartoons is worth the new edition. Have we ever had a female cartoonist at any of the national dailies?
What comes to your mind when you hear of the word ‘cartoonist’? The field of cartooning is rigidly male-dominated and as such, females who might have an interest in the field tend not to explore it.
The story in the Washington Post was rather refreshing as well and allowed for the reader to see the world of cartooning through the eyes, thoughts and experiences of cartoonist, Elizabeth Montague. In addition to being female, Montague is also African American. She brings a whole new experience to this staunchly patriarchal space in which the voices of women are infrequently heard.
Undoubtedly, women are underrepresented in the field of cartooning, especially women of colour. We need to encourage more women to explore the field of cartooning as a viable career path. Without a doubt, women bring a different perspective to the arena of cartooning. We need to encourage the major newspaper companies and other media outlets to make a concerted effort to diversify those who they employ in the field of cartooning.
We need to encourage more women to use the platform of cartooning to voice their experiences, concerns, and to tell their stories.
Cartooning should be viewed as more than sketching images; cartooning should be seen as a conduit for female empowerment.