Women need to dismantle the male control over Caribbean state institutions and make women's issues a top priority, a prominent Jamaican scholar said Thursday.
Beverley Anderson-Manley, Radcliffe College's 1990-91 Distin-guished International Visitor, spoke to a 200-person audience at the first event of a two-day conference on women in developing nations sponsored by Radcliffe and the Bunting Institute.
"It is important to link women's concerns with other national economic, social and political concerns, so that women's problems are not seen as separated from them," said Anderson-Manley.
A full day of panel discussions and speeches that followed Anderson-Manley's lecture focused on a reinterpretation of the state bureaucracy as a gendered institution.
The more than 75 women politicians and scholars attending the discussions explored the effectiveness of women's bureaus in several Caribbean states.
The Rama Mehta lecture and colloqium was established by John Kenneth Galbraith, Walburg professor of economics emeritus, and his wife, Catherine Atwater Galbraith. The conference is the only such event on women in the Third World held at the University.
The colloqium has acted in the past as a meeting place for leaders in women's movements around the world, and many new networks have formed out of this event, organizers said. But this year, they said, the event had an immediacy that previous conferences did not.
"There was a strengthening of an existing network that one could imagine would very quickly translate into real action in the Caribbean," said Philippa A. Bovet, dean of Radcliffe.
Several of the participants had been part of the movement to bring women's concerns to the forefront of Caribbean politics between 1975 and 1985, including Anderson-Manley, who headed the Jamaican People's National Party in the 1970s.
The kinds of questions people [at the conference] are concerned about are the real questions," said Jacqui Alexander, professor of sociology at Brandeis University. "I've never seen anything work so well."
Participants also lauded the conference as a particularly timely event, as states are expanding democratic institutions and norms.
"The rise of a feminist critique of politics is really a major need in the Caribbean at this time, and this conversation clearly contributed to it," said Dessima Williams, professor of international relations at Williams College.