HIV won’t disappear overnight. Unintended pregnancy won’t magically cease. But by working with and through young people to gradually change Jamaicans’ access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, JFPA is ensuring that the next generation of Jamaicans will be knowledgeable and empowered to demand and the care they deserve.
For something we see and experience day in and day out, masculinity sure is a tricky business. In a collection of essays that span various countries and cultures, Global Masculinities and Manhood considers how communities around the world have been shaped by what it means to “be a man” — and rebel against unhealthy gender expectations in order to make change.
AIDS-Free World has presented a first-ever legal challenge to Jamaica’s anti-gay laws, by filing a petition at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of two gay men whose names are being withheld to protect their safety.
Illegal abortions are one of the top ten causes of maternal death in Jamaica. Safe, legal abortions are only accessible to those who can afford one. Existing abortion “common law” in Jamaica is ambiguous and differs than legislation on the books. Jamaica is in the midst of a heated abortion debate.
Jamaica has put measures in place to support the Convention on the Rights of the Child and protect children from sexual abuse, but cultural issues must be addressed in addition to legal reform.
In the area of reproductive and sexual health, accommodations must be made to take account of the impact of gender socialisation and the ways in which it shapes the sexual identities.
In the Caribbean, views are slowly changing from conservative attitudes to more positive understanding of healthy adolescent sexuality. Educating teenagers honestly will empower them to make wise decisions.
Editor's Note: Today we welcome Danielle Toppin, writing from Jamaica. She has experience with gender and development, and will be covering reproductive health issues in the Caribbean and Latin America.
On November 4, 2004, I discovered that I was pregnant. In that moment, my life began to change. The ways in which I saw myself; and in which society perceived me shifted. It was as though I had finally fulfilled my role as a woman. I had proven my worthiness.
In the Caribbean context, ideas of motherhood are inextricably linked with ideas of womanhood. In Barbados, meanings are attached to fertile and infertile female bodies; with value being attached to those women who reproduce, and withheld from those women who, either by choice or by nature, do not. Mothering has become synonymous with "becoming a woman", achieving an almost mythical status as the natural path that women's lives should take.