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Contact: Ayodele Hippolyte

Wednesday, June 26, 2002 - The ongoing debate on gender relations in St. Lucia is soon to take a novel turn when the Division of Gender Relations hosts a one-day consultation on the establishment of a menís resource centre, the first of its kind on the island. The consultation is set to take place on Thursday, June 27th at the Bay Gardens Hotel. It will bring together a wide cross-section of government officials, non-governmental groups, religious leaders, community activists and students.

Consultant to the project, Michael White, says the centre will be critical to resolving some of the more serious social problems which are caused by the clash between traditional attitudes toward gender roles and modern realities. He explained that ďWhen women become more educated as time passes they begin to assert the need for more influence, more rights, more voice and so on. Obviously then you have a historical contest happening between two different positions that have been hardened over a long period of time and you donít just break that overnight. So all the dysfunctional relationships, the power struggles between men and women generate a lot of bad blood and social evils that we have to deal withĒ.

Mr. White, a trained economist and human resource consultant, is author of the book Absent Fathers, an analytical look at why men neglect their familial responsibilities. He is assisting the Division of Gender Relations with the establishment of the centre and is expected to guide the whole process.

The one-day consultation on Thursday is supposed to be a springboard for wider consultations in communities across the island in preparation for the centre. The idea behind The Menís Resource Centre is to give St. Lucian men support and guidance as they seek to be better fathers, husbands and citizens.


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