International Women's Day Forum 2022

Where have all the women gone?

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Institute for Gender and Development Studies, Regional Coordinating Office (IGDS – RCO) will host a forum on the theme “Where have all the Women Gone?: The Shift from Women to Gender in Feminist Discourse and Praxis.”

This online seminar will take place on the Zoom platform on March 9, 2022, starting at 5:00 p.m. JA/6:00 p.m. EC time and is scheduled to last 90 minutes. Register in advance for this meeting at

Panellists comprise Prof. Emerita, the Most Honourable V. Eudine Barriteau, former Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the West Indies’ (The UWI) Cave Hill campus; Member of UN CEDAW Committee and former Deputy Principal of UWI St. Augustine, Professor Emerita Rhoda Reddock; Gender Scholar and Head of Department of English and American Studies, Salzburg University Professor Ralph Poole; and Former UN Ambassador for St Vincent and the Grenadines and Head of IGDS Nita Barrow Unit, Dr. Halimah DeShong.

This issue was first raised in a 2003 Barriteau essay on ‘Theorizing the Shift from “Woman” to “Gender.” She then argued that “as it now stands, the concept of gender is in danger of becoming barren. Soon it may be unable to reproduce or give birth to new investigations. (p. 34).” She also suggested that, “in the process of making the transition to gender we ignored or wished away some fundamental epistemological and ontological questions that are now threatening the relevance and viability of feminist scholarship and the women’s movement in the Caribbean region” (p. 28).

Commemoration of International Women’s Day 2022, almost two decades later, provides an opportunity for the IGDS to revisit Prof. Barriteau’s critical contentions, assess her predictions and their contemporary outcomes; and project their future implications.

Highlighting the pivotal nature of women’s issues and vulnerabilities is also the focus of the United Nations’ (UN’s) theme for IWD 2022, “Gender Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” This theme zeros in on obstacles to women and girls’ global security in the face of the encroaching challenges of climate change and the gender-specific action being undertaken to mitigate the crisis.