THE involvement of youths in crime is a gender issue, educator and activist Prof Rhoda Reddock said yesterday.
Young men continue to be the most common victims and perpetrators of violent crimes, Reddock, vice principal of the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, said during her opening remarks at the panel discussion on Promotion of Gender Equity at the Government Campus Plaza, Richmond Street, Port of Spain. The problem stems from improper socialisation and false gender ideologies in socially-depressed communities, Reddock observed. She said TT is second only to Jamaica as the country with the highest number of youths convicted for violent crime, and believes these statistics may be due to a sense of masculinity young men try to emulate. She said among the contributing factors to their involvement in crime was the number of boys leaving school at an early age.
“Even though equal numbers of boys and girls begin school at the same time, boys gradually leave school with the increase of girls’ participation and success in education. Boys, in their withdrawal from formal education, take refuge in what is referred to as ‘outdoor physicality’ because they see their place as being outside, kicking a ball or getting involved in violence.”
She said while children’s upbringing was the responsibility of parents, the State must also accept some responsibility in properly socialising young men away from a life of violence.
Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy said while there were major improvements in attitudes towards women taking on positions of authority in the workplace, there remained major obstacles which needed addressing. She called on mothers to do their part in properly socialising their sons to show respect to all women.
Citing her own responsibilities as a mother and a leader, she said women ought to play a larger role in their sons’ upbringing while empowering their husbands.