Feminist Activism and the Caribbean Academy
The Woman and Development Unit was central to the development of feminist activism in the Caribbean.
Feminism in the Caribbean was not an ideological import from the United States of America but a consciousness that emerged from women critical of gendered oppression and everyday injustices in their lives. This consciousness lent itself to understanding the position of women as a group in society.
Fundamentally, reflection, experience and interaction build the potential for radical consciousness and not exclusively the internalization and learning of published theory and abstract concepts.
At the University of the West Indies, the Woman and Development Unit was central to the development of feminist activism in the Caribbean. The institutional reputation of the UWI and the academic credentials of the women who led the gender projects helped bring respectability and public legitimacy to the movement.
Moreover, the feminists in the UWI positioned themselves as the theoretical arm of the women’s movement. They produced historical knowledge, theorized current movements and brought together activist and women in state machinery throughout the region to discuss advancing women in Caribbean development.
Later, this unit would grow into the Institute for Gender and Development Studies across all campus with a Regional Coordinating Unit in Jamaica. Read more