Live And Let Live

Live And Let Live

The gender double standards need to stop.

This week, President-Elect Paula-Mae Weekes became the latest victim of these outdated thinking processes. She is on the cusp of turning 60 and has never been married and does not have any children. And in true backward thinking tradition, many have since assumed that she must be a lesbian. Because why else would a woman not get married or procreate right? Well, how about the possibility that she, as a strong independent woman, may have chosen not to do either of those things? If it were a man, such an assumption would never be made. A man would be labelled a “free-spirited bachelor” instead. It would be said that he chose to dedicate his life to a meaningful career instead.

Well, just to set the record straight, let’s look at the sort of meaningful career the President-Elect has had. She earned her LLB at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, and a Legal Education Certificate from the Hugh Wooding Law School in St Augustine. She was called to the Bar in 1982. She served for 11 years at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and then entered private practice in 1993. For a while, she was a lecturer in ethics at the Hugh Wooding Law School. She was the fifth female judge in the High Court of TT when appointed to its Criminal Division in 1996. She served as a Judge of the local Appeal Court from 2005 to 2016, and in February last year was sworn-in for three years as a justice of appeal in the Turks and Caicos Islands. She once acted as Chief Justice from August 1 to 11, 2012, when Wendell Kangaloo, who was acting for Ivor Archie, was injured in a car crash. She also served as Chancellor of the Anglican Church, managing their finances.

There are very few people, male or female, with that sort of experience and qualifications. Yet, Trinis are hung up on the fact that she is an unmarried woman with no children. Worse yet, they have thrown her personal life into the mix, and presume it is even their business to talk about it.

Is that how we continue to judge women? By their personal lives? Is it that a female needs to be a wife and/or a mother to please society? Is that the benchmark for self fulfilment? Such expectations are always unfairly placed on women. Those who fail to fulfil it are then given labels with negative connotations. Can’t we just let people choose their own life path without judgement? Look at Oprah Winfrey. She is 64 years old, is not married and has no children. That is the life she chose. Some people want to be married, others do not. Some people want children, others do not.

Live and let live.

News Room

February 8th, 2018

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