Can't We All Just Get Along?
AFETT's May 2017 Meeting
AFETT Confronts Gender Issues in the Workplace
The Association of Female Executives of Trinidad and Tobago (AFETT) encouraged further discussion on gender and politics in our local workplaces at the Association’s most recent meeting held at The Carlton Savannah. Entitled “Can’t We All Just Get Along”, the session comprised of a panel discussion featuring three advocates who each presented on the topic of gender in the workplace.
Nikoli Edwards, youth and social advocate, spoke on the role of men in gender issues. He talked about the importance of men being allies to women in the workplace and being aware of how sexism and male privilege can affect women. In response to questions from the audience, he mentioned the importance of teaching sex education in schools, noting that many parents could benefit from re-education in their workplaces. He also suggested that it is counterproductive to segregate boys and girls in classrooms during sex education classes.
Sue-Ann Barratt of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies - University of the West Indies, talked about how changing language is not effective without changing the public’s way of thinking. She mentioned the pervasiveness of racist language and the difference between obvious, covert and subtle sexism. She also touched on the difference between compliments and harassment in the workplace.
In her presentation, Sharon Mottley - Study Lead of Trinidad and Tobago at the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) and founder of the Women’s Caucus, talked about the challenges of the local LGBTQ community and the initiatives she’s worked with to help youth and their families cope with the challenges of sexuality and gender in our society.
This meeting was in keeping with AFETT’s continued commitment to advocacy and gender issues. Earlier in the year, the Association held a panel discussion that focused on the impact of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.
Deloitte Trinidad provided sponsorship for the meeting. AFETT would like to express their appreciation to the firm for their support.
Nikoli Edwards is a youth and social advocate in addition to being a Communications Specialist. Appointed as the youngest Independent Senator in Trinidad and Tobago, he also holds the international title of Vice Chairperson Policy, Advocacy and Projects of the Commonwealth Youth Council. He is a motivational speaker and facilitator with the Canadian-based organisation ‘WE Schools’ and tutors communications at UWI St. Augustine, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a Minor in Theatre Arts. He is now a postgraduate
Mediation Studies student. He has served in many capacities at the UWI including on the Guild of Students and as a UWI STAT Ambassador. He also held an executive post with the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Ambassadors and is Chairman of the local Youth Advisory Group of the United Nations Population Fund. Nikoli has over seven years of experience as a media practitioner and is passionate about the reformation of the criminal justice system and the advancement of youth across the globe.
Sue-Ann Barratt is a member of the faculty at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. She is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, holding a BA in Media and Communication Studies with Political Science, MA
Communication Studies, and PhD Interdisciplinary Gender Studies. Her current research areas are interpersonal interaction, social media use, gender and ethnic identities, beauty and body image, and Carnival studies. She is dedicated to gender awareness and sensitivity training through face-to-face sessions and mass media outreach.
Sharon Mottley - No one can quite recall when Sharon Mottley actually started her life as an “advocate”. As a child, her family and schoolmates vividly recall her keen awareness of what was going on not only within her immediate environment but also with what was going on in the world outside of Trinidad and her uncanny ability to take strong positions on issues, any issue, and articulate like she was the one being discriminated against, persecuted, repressed etc. During her undergraduate years at the University of the West Indies, she was known for participating in loud demonstrations on student and women's rights. This lack of tolerance for injustice followed her to the United States where she actively advocated and participated in campaigns against the use of child labour in South America in the production of US goods.
Her career has been long and diverse and began at the National Urban League (NUL) (1991), a social and civil rights organisation headquartered in New York City. She has worked in both corporate USA and Trinidad and returned to advocacy and activism work in 2007, at the Caribbean Coalition of National AIDS Program Coordinators (CCNAPC), and
later at PSI-Caribbean where she coordinated a gender-based violence project between 2014 and 2017. In 2012, she was part of a study team collecting bio-behavioural surveillance data aimed at improving access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for MSM in Trinidad and Tobago. Currently, she is the study lead for a similar project focusing on female sex workers.
Sharon believes that we cannot address societal issues and challenges in silos; she is committed to doing her part to ensuring fairness and justice for the most vulnerable and ending GBV through empowerment. She holds a Masters of Science in Industrial & Labor Relations with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology.