Women and education in Trinidad and Tobago, 1838-1980

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1987
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This study attempts to understand the dynamics of female participation in education and its relation to the workforce in Trinidad and Tobago over the period 1838-1980. It proposes that development in the education system, as seen through educational policy, have differentially affected both genders, and examines the reasons for this differential. It traces the development of the education system, as affected by the changing economic and political circumstances of the society, and appraises the status of the different ethnic groups of women as the social structure itself developed. It also looks at how education policy was formulated and why changes were introduced, and illustrates how these changes reflected the concerns of the church and the educationalists in particular, and the social perception of women's roles in general. The study also examines the differential labour force involvement of both men and women by occupation and industry, analysing closely how their status in the labour force is determined by educational attainment levels combined with competing demographic, social, and cultural factors. The analysis reveals that despite greater equality in educational policy between 1838 and 1980, and equal access to primary, secondary, and tertiary education for both genders, by 1980 there was still evidence of gender stereotyping with regards to subject choices between boys and girls, and a persistent sexual division of labour vis-a-vis occupational and industrial pursuits of men and women. The study reveals the paradoxical nature of women's position in education. While policy developments have given them equal access, their actual educational and occupational choices are influenced by other competing social, cultural, and economic factors, thus delimiting their equal participation in the education system and predetermining their roles in the economy
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