UNESCO positive fathering project launched
On Monday, November 19, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange, in collaboration with UNESCO and UWI's Institute of Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), symbolically launched the UNESCO project, Positive Fathering: A Bridge to Enhancing Family Unity and Community Cohesion in Jamaica.
The launch took place during the observance of International Men's Day at the regional headquarters of The University of the West Indies in St Andrew. The event was hosted by The Bureau of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, and the Ministry of Justice's Citizen Security and Justice Programme.
The joint project, to be funded by UNESCO, is to be implemented by the IGDS regional coordinating office and the Bureau of Gender Affairs. It is aimed at building on previous work done by both entities in the area of masculinity, crime and gender-based violence, according to Grange.
In address the gathering, Grange said that the project is an action research aimed "to examine how various expressions of masculinity affect various models of fatherhood and fathering in Jamaica", and is guided by the national policy on gender equality.
"The Government of Jamaica acknowledges that gender equality cannot be achieved without engaging and integrating men and boys into the conversation," Grange said. "The contribution of men and boys is significant in addressing violence against women and girls," she added.
It was Grange who piloted the project through the Cabinet, and she said that it had got the full support of all Cabinet members. It seeks to address the role of men as fathers and to encourage an increase in "shared responsibilities and parenting".
Focus will be on some of the "narrow perspectives of fatherhood and manhood, which inhibit males from achieving their full potentials as parents and positive role models". The project will also identify the "destructive stereotypes that serves to normalise gender inequality and recommend solutions to remedy these issues," Grange said.