Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Creating Spaces for Dialogue on Gender and Development

The Caribbean Development Bank recently held a public discussion to promote and disseminate information on key gender issues in education and evidence-based approaches to targeting youth-at-risk.

The panel discussion entitled “Reaching Out” is part of a series called Conversations.

“The objectives of this particular Conversation are twofold. Firstly, we want to disseminate information on gender, youth and education, with a focus on the male perspective, while sharing some experiences from the field. Secondly, it is part of CDB’s advocacy, which is targeted at engaging men in the discourse on gender equality,” said Ian Durrant, Deputy Director of Economics at CDB.

The resource persons for Reaching Out were Dr. Peter Thomas Weller, a Clinical Psychologist, and Mr. Thomas Holmes, a Guidance Counsellor.  Dr. Weller and Mr. Holmes closely associated with the Caribbean Male Action Network, also known as CariMAN, a regional network of advocates for gender equality.

The resource persons for Reaching Out were Dr. Peter Thomas Weller, a Clinical Psychologist, and Mr. Thomas Holmes, a Guidance Counsellor. Dr. Weller and Mr. Holmes closely associated with the Caribbean Male Action Network, also known as CariMAN, a regional network of advocates for gender equality.

Dr. Weller lauded the initiative by CDB and suggested that there is need to encourage similar dialogue in the wider communities to discuss the issues.

We have to try to work with those who want to engage in this process by building capacity, by providing resources but most importantly by having conversations with them. This is not adversarial, the idea is to create spaces for conversation in the same way that CDB is doing this, and having people who have a certain perspective and set of knowledge come and share it,” Dr. Weller said.

The conceptual shift from Women in Development to Gender and Development, which has been underway since the 1980s, was in recognition of the inadequacies of focusing on women in isolation. The subject matter changed to embrace the study of the socially-constructed relations between men and women, which allowed for a more nuanced understanding of the nature of power. However, to complete the shift, the conversationalists and activists must change as well.

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