MP for West Kingstown Daniel Cummings says that the Vincentian society lacks sufficient male role models and men are finding it difficult to cope with the “gender imbalance” that has resulted from their own poor decisions.
Cummings, speaking on radio on Tuesday, said he is concerned that some men in St. Vincent and the Grenadines “seem to think they have a licence to treat women as property and to deal with them how they see fit; to use whatever income they are giving them as a weapon”.
Speaking on New Times, on NICE Radio, Cummings said that some men withhold money from women if the women do not “respond in certain ways”.
He, however, said there is a “gender imbalance because you have our women who are far more educated and far smarter than a lot of the men folk.
“And some of the men, apparently, don’t know how to adjust to this new dispensation. It is the way the world is.”
He said women are now “the breadwinners, they are smarter because they have more discipline, they are staying in school longer and some of these men folk don’t seem to know how to adjust to this”.
Cummings said that SVG needs to look at its civics programme in school and in the community “to help people to change with the changing times.
“It is a fact that we have to live with. Women are being educated at far higher levels and in greater numbers than the men and boys and, traditionally, we come up in societies where the man is the head of the household and the buck stops there. That has changed.
“Women are now overtaking and have overtaken a number of areas. So, we need to have the right leadership, saying the right thing, helping the young men to adjust, develop themselves in conformity with the norms in society and to work harmoniously with our female companions and not look at them as objects to be used when it serves us.”
The 70-year-old lawmaker said that when he went to Grammar School, an all-male high school, occasionally, a female teacher would come from the Girls’ High School, an all-female school, to teach a particular subject.
“But the vast majority of the teachers were males. One or two, maximum, were females. If you look at the composition of teachers throughout the system, primary and secondary school, the significant majority are females,” Cummings said, adding that in some schools, the entire staff is female.
“The point I am getting at, there aren’t enough male models in our society for the young boys to look up to and we need to address this seriously in our curriculum, in the way we distribute the teachers in the primary and secondary schools so that the young boys don’t feel that they are shunted aside,” Cummings said.
“I talked earlier about civics. We need to help our young boys to adjust to the new dispensation without feeling inferior or lost or feel threatened by the female species, but, most importantly, to feel appreciation and love for the other sex as you do for your male colleagues. Because, clearly, in our society, there seems to be a feeling that a male can do what they want to with a female and that has to stop. That must be arrested.”
The NDP chairman said:
“And it is really sad because when you listen to the stupid remarks over the years from the fella we have here, you realise how he trivialises the role of our womenfolk in our society.”
“And I keep saying some of our people are like sheep. They learn from the leader. They want to follow the leader. When the leader is charged with something as sexual harassment and rape and nothing comes of it, it makes people wonder. It makes people say, well, if one can get away with it, why not me?”
Cummings said that too often “some men seem to think that they can use a woman as property and when they are dissatisfied for whatever reason, they seem to think they have a right to beat and even snuff a life out.
“God, I hope this thing can change. We need leaders who can respect our people in the real sense of the word. Why should women have to be going up to the Taj Mahal and seeking for scholarships and jobs? Why should anybody have to go there?
“People need to have their dignity and their pride and to know that what is theirs is theirs and they don’t need to genuflect to anyone to get it. Those are the things our society needs to normalise and help the men folk to understand that women are a vital part of our history and survival.”
He said that, unfortunately, “that ain’t going [to] come under these jokers.
“They are not capable of demonstrating that and too many of the men, I find, are not themselves sufficiently educated or misunderstand their roles.”