Interview of Tiala Scott -- By Alberta Richelieu
Tiala Scott is currently a student of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College on the island of Saint Lucia, where she studies Chemistry, Biology, Spanish and Communication Studies. She aspires to continue to pursue her studies in the field of science and later become an outstanding physician. Moreover, she hopes to contribute to the improvement of the standard of health care in Saint Lucia, and by extension, the wider Caribbean.
Tiala vehemently believes that exposure to the international environment is key to keeping young adults, especially young women, engaged and confident in their abilities to succeed in the international arena. “This does not necessarily mean only exploring the geography of other territories, but also, becoming involved in…[diverse] transactions and professional activities common to other locations.” She underlined that “our young people should be given more opportunities to interact with people of other nationalities in order to gain insight into the different mannerisms and customs [of diverse peoples].” She made it clear that she views the aforementioned as a prerequisite to success in the international arena.
With regard to social change, Tiala highlighted the need for a strong support system as a critical factor in bringing about social change in the Caribbean. “As with anything, support is important,” she explained. She underlined that no one person can accomplish any change or reform on his or her own. Other members of society, as well as the wider regional community, must back young women that are looking to push the agenda for social change.
Tiala strongly believes that teaching and building skills in entrepreneurship, while embracing mentorship, can serve as a jump-start towards boosting the careers of young people in general. “A skill-set geared towards cultivating the tools needed in a professional environment, helps to give young people the edge in the workforce.” Building up the capacity to function and interact with diverse groups of people is therefore one of the key factors necessary for the development of young people. We need to teach both soft and hard skills in order to ensure that youth would be able to survive in an environment foreign to them. Young people need holistic educational opportunities that harness their creative abilities, as well as train them for the careers of today and tomorrow. It is a “no brainer” if young people are sent to join the work force without the necessary tools to succeed, particularly as entrepreneurs, they are being set up for failure. In essence, a support system is essential.
Tiala holds the view that the current role played by men and boys in female empowerment is not substantial enough. “A lot can be done which is not being done,” she pointed out. “Little things such as supporting females, [regardless of age] in daily activities can go a long way. She sees a dire need for a “ loosening up of the grass” with regard to gender roles and male dominated fields. This means that we need to address taboo subjects as well as challenge, break, and reassess social conventions. Men and boys need to be more welcoming of ideas that help portray women in a different and positive light, as opposed to what they have been traditionally viewed as. More imperatively, Tiala sees the need for men to view women “not just as an accessory, but rather as a counterpart.” She added that the support of men and boys in the household goes a long way. “Reflecting on daily life, giving guidance where needed, and accepting [to assist with] work in the household, provides support for women, and by extension, leads to female empowerment.” Overall, Tiala highlights the crucial need for support, not just in bigger things such as groups, conventions, etc., but also, support in small things such as in the household, as critical in promoting empowerment of females in the Caribbean society.