Dr Gabrielle Hosein, Head of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies is not pleased with the gender composition on the road map for T&T post-COVID committee announced by the Prime Minister yesterday.
Speaking at the post-cabinet news conference Dr Rowley said the 21-member team has been given until the end of April 2020 to compile a rough draft on the post-COVID-19 Road Map. By the end of May 2020, the team is expected to submit the complete plan.
But, speaking with Guardian Media, Dr Hosein said, “The Prime Minister’s team to produce a road map for T&T post-COVID insufficiently includes women at the table as if they are simply invisible, unqualified or irrelevant.”
She added that it also insufficiently includes civil society, and particularly the women’s movement, despite the fact that women perform the bulk of care work both in the labour market, as teachers and nurses, and in the home in their care of children, the aged and the ill.
Dr Hosein also raised issue with Single Father’s Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SFATT) President Rhondall Feeles’ appointment to the committee as the sole Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).
She said, “Feeles may represent a business interest, men’s rights, or both. SFATT has no experience in representing women’s vulnerabilities or realities, and no agenda to represent women’s interests in a time when women are more vulnerable in terms of poverty and violence.”
She quoted an April 9 statement by the UN Secretary-General that called for women to be equally represented in COVID-19 planning and decision-making.
Contacted on his appointment Feeles said he would reserve detailed comments after meeting with the other members of the committee, but he said in the SFATT they have represented both men and women over the years.
He maintained that his being chosen was more than just his activism.
“I don’t think the only perspective they going to be looking at me for I believe is only through the Single Fathers Association. As you and others will know I am the vice-president of the Automotive Dealers Association. I have a vast amount of knowledge when it comes to business as well.”
He said he is all about serving the country and would bring a grassroots perspective to the table.