Marijuana capital of the world Jamaica is revealed to be the country with more women bosses than anywhere else in the world.
Jamaica now has the world’s highest proportion of female bosses according to a new United Nations study but the country’s men could be falling prey to a culture of criminality.
With nearly 60 per cent of the country’s managers being women, it dwarfs both United States’ 43 per cent and Japan’s 11 per cent.
Experts claim their rise to power is partly due to improvements in female education but also because men have failed to keep pace with them.
While government officials celebrate the women’s success, they are deeply worried about their ‘stagnating’ men who are performing worse academically and have a much higher risk of falling into criminality.
High school teacher and blogger Wayne Campbell believes they are being brought down by musical culture that ‘celebrates law-breaking’.
Jamaica is the birthplace of reggae music – made famous by the legendary Bob Marley. But its offshoot ‘dance-hall’ has been criticised for its violent, misogynistic and homophobic lyrics.
Last year, dancehall star Vybz Kartel was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of one of his former associates in August 2011.
He was the first Jamaican artist whose music was completely banned from the airwaves by the country’s National Communications Network, who said his lyrics were ‘obscene’ and brought ‘nothing positive’ to the entertainment industry.
But his songs continued to be played by many – especially those in Jamaica’s slums where he is considered somewhat of a hero.
Mr Campbell also claimed men devalue academic achievement and boys who display school smarts are ridiculed as feminine by their peers and even adults.
‘It’s almost as if manhood and masculinity have been hijacked by a thug culture far removed from education,’ he added.
Growing, selling and consuming cannabis in Jamaica is technically illegal but the law is often overlooked and the drug is sold openly.
And on January 22, the country’s Cabinet approved a bill to decriminalize the possession and sale of small amounts of marijuana, as well as allowing private cultivation.
A young businesswoman who sells smoking paraphernalia and hopes to expand into medical marijuana says women are now the ‘main breadwinners’.
Ravn Rae said: ‘Caribbean culture has a laid-back, slow-paced vibe. But generally, Caribbean men are a lot more relaxed than the women… We push harder to earn.’
With more women pursuing higher education than men, the gender gap could grow even wider.
For years there has been a steady 70-30 ration in favour of women at the University of West Indies, a public university system serving over 18 Caribbean countries and territories.
Educators say the sheer scale of boys’ academic underachievement points to the need for big changes in the way lessons are planned and delivered.
From Trinidad and Tobago in the south to the northern archipelago of the Bahamas, education ministries have been trying for years to solve the crisis which spills over to create social unrest.
Grace McLean, Jamaica’s chief education officer, says their underachievement in the classroom is ‘weighing heavily on national socioeconomic development.’
Not everyone is convinced regional women are close to pulling ahead of men in Caribbean societies.
The majority of top positions are still dominated by men even if countries like Jamaica have female heads of state, says Camille Hernandez-Ramdwar who researches Caribbean cultures at Canada’s Ryerson University.
She says women in the Caribbean still ‘have to contend with old-boy networks, male privilege, and males dominating in the justice, social, political and religious systems’.