Over the last two decades, there are some studies that describe boys being ‘at risk’ while no in-depth assessment is given on girls’ education nationally and throughout the region (Watson, et.al. 2011: 4). No one seems concerned about girls in society nor are they focused on the issues that they encounter. Therefore, my thesis intends to nullify their claim that boys are “at risk, are disadvantaged or are being marginalized.” What makes boys “at risk”? Together, none of this literature has provided supporting documentation to prove these claims; but my study has sufficient evidence that will contort all these analyses and will explain that it is girls who are “at risk,” not boys. Regardless of some of these perceptions, my research proves and clarifies these anomalies through the theoretical formulation of historical materialism that addresses the colonial history and material relations in global capitalism, including Jamaica. I use this theory together with and black feminist theories that delve into the colonial history of Jamaica where the issues of gender, sexuality, class and colorism intersect.
Essentially the analysis points to the fact that boys and girls do not learn differently, but learning results from the social constructions embedded in society. There are studies that already focus on boys and presume that they experience challenges (Miller, 1990, 1986,1994, 1991; Brown and Chevannes, 1999, 2012, and others). Therefore, my arguments champion the inequities meted out to girls in the classroom. The society needs to begin focusing on girls, so female students who have challenges with learning will be easily identified. For example, in a class, more attention is given to boys in which girls are perceived to be working because they are normally engaged (reading or writing). If girls are given more attention, the perception that boys are ‘at risk or marginalized’ will be dispelled. Boys would do equally as well as girls if they attended classes more frequently and submitted all assignments. Also, learning becomes compounded for both boys and girls by other socio-cultural and political factors. Though they often surface, they are not examined in great details and are sidelined by gender cultural beliefs that become the hindrance for learning.
Learning needs to be understood in terms of how boys and girls have been socialized. This body of literature informs society that not all girls are the same, differences exist among them, and that there are deficiencies in their learning just as much as boys. Therefore, the focus needs to be paid to our girls who grow up as women and struggle to get suitable paying work. The data allow for a better understanding of the structure of the Jamaican society that makes it appear as if boys are in need of more help.
A HIDDEN REALITY, JAMAICA THEN AND TODAY: THESIS STATEMENT
Statement of the Problem
Jamaica is a misogynistic society that is entrenched in socio-political and economic weaknesses due to the existing patriarchal hegemony that is steeped in the culture. I use misogyny in the context of Jamaica as it addresses the sexism and discrimination against girls and women. It is the behavior of some men that borders on an unrecognized hatred of women. Therefore, women are marginalized and disenfranchised due to their bodies being objectified, exploited and commodified by men who make decisions about what women can do with their bodies, as well as govern themselves. This is a continued practice of oppression towards women by men that begins in the home, enforced in schools, accepted in communities, and may be viewed as an end product of enslavement. Sadly, some women subscribe to this inequality.
Capitalism is the inherent culprit which has developed education into an effective tool or mechanism of social control that influences unequal social relations and marginalizes women as it requires women to be subordinate to men. As, there is the systematization of state instituted patriarchal ideology (Walby, 1990, p.160) because Jamaica’s colonial structure has implicated its current education and economic reality.
Thus, women’s social well-being is impacted within different service sectors in Jamaica which is evident in the labor market. More women work menial or lower paying jobs and labor in factories, agriculture, tourism, and often have to settle for secretarial jobs as noted in tables1 1-5. These tables below will reveal different service sectors of occupation and industry labor force with estimated age ranges, rates of employment and unemployment. The tables show that men work in sectors where they are likely to earn more income. Also, because they leave school early, it is likely they have jobs superior to their qualifications. Women are often denied access to skilled positions in engineering, plumbing, and carpentry; moreover, when they do get access, women are labelled and stereotyped.
Total Labor Force by Occupation Group April 2015 – January 2016
Professional Senior Officials ; Technicians
Service Workers ; Shop ; Market Sales Workers
Skilled Agricultural ; Fishery Workers
Craft ; Related Trades Workers
Plant ; Machine Operators ; Assemblers
Occupations not Specified
Classifiable Labor Force
No Previous Occupation
Total Labor Force by Age Group April 2015 – January 2016