The Government is committed to addressing the issues that affect the nation’s men and boys and to engage them in the fight against the cultural norms and stereotypes that reinforce gender inequality in the society, says Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange.
She lamented that, too often, based on cultural stereotypes “we ignore the issues faced by men and boys regarding their emotional state… or the societal structures that force them to act out negatively”.
She noted that as a result of this, men are often times resistant to having conversations about gender-related issues, as they believe their concerns will be ignored, which leaves them feeling discouraged and demotivated.
Ms. Grange, who was addressing the Outstanding Father Awards ceremony, held at The Knutsford Court Hotel in St. Andrew in Wednesday (June 23), said that the Ministry, through the Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA), continues to create programmes and initiatives to support men and boys.
She pointed to the agency’s Positive Fathering project, which involves the exploration of various models of fatherhood and fathering, with a view to identifying ways in which these models can be leveraged to create safer and more cohesive families and communities.
This is a joint initiative involving the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, Regional Coordinating Office.
Minister Grange also informed that the BGA, in collaboration with the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation, is implementing the Young Fathers Jamaica initiative, which is designed to assist fathers, aged 15 to 29, to improve their parenting roles and responsibilities, develop self-efficacy and life skills, and improve the interpersonal relationship between themselves and their family members and peers.
She noted, however, that for these and other efforts to be impactful “the very active participation and support” of society’s men is needed.
As such, she charged the 25 men being honoured at the Outstanding Father Awards ceremony “to make a commitment, or if you have already started on the journey, to recommit to doing your part to tackle the very critical issues which our men and boys face”.
“The issues are many, but I believe that together we can come up with the solutions,” she said.
She argued that the role and contribution of the honourees are not only pivotal to building stronger families but also stronger communities and a stronger Jamaica.
Ms. Grange commended the award recipients, including two fathers with disabilities, as “extraordinary and phenomenal men, who are hard-working, dedicated, diligent, caring and understanding”.
“It is important to recognise and remember all the fathers who have done and are doing an outstanding job raising our children and building our nation,” she said.
The Outstanding Father Awards was created by the BGA to celebrate and acknowledge the vital role that fathers and father figures play within families and in the wider community.
These awards are presented annually to fathers or father figures who are inspirational role models, not only in their families but in their communities as well.
The objectives are to recognise and honour outstanding fathers in the society and to recognise and celebrate the contribution of fathers to the social, cultural and economic development of the society.
In keeping with coronavirus (COVID-19) safety protocols, not all 25 recipients were able to receive their award in person.