Interview Series: Krishna Clarke --By Alberta Richelieu
Krishna believes that a good education and a positive mindset are complimentary tools that can enable youth to reach higher goals and succeed beyond their expectations. Through education, he believes that a greater understanding of their respective fields will enable young people to interact more with their environments and to contribute to innovation in their respective fields.
While Krishna believes that there are tremendous opportunities presented by the contemporary economy , he also pointed that there are also many challenges that the youth today are faced with. “Society sometimes dictates that one must follow traditional career paths, such as medicine, law and/or other traditional gender based careers. With our advancing economies, complex systems and a more globalized world, new career choices are available to the next generation for exploration. Mindset is important because there will always be persons who would advise others to stay on a ‘safe’ path. You must be determined to achieve those goals others feel are not attainable. Ever so often, we hear about that one Vincentian, Dominican, or St. Lucian, who is a top executive at Google, has made a break through in cancer research, or works for NASA. They didn’t achieve their success by playing it safe, they had big dreams and worked hard to get there.”
Needless to say, Krishna pointed out that a lot of young people in the Caribbean lack the supportive backgrounds or mechanisms for such a mindset to prosper. “Promoting career fairs and career advisory [mechanisms] is a starting point in solving this and possibly ensuring that it is a requirement for all secondary schools.”
A supportive environment for youth is tantamount for their future success. “After all, the main way forward is through innovation and allowing persons to think outside the box...What better way to innovate than to allow our youth to freely develop, based on their passions and career choices and not have them chosen by a parent, teacher or other influential adult.”
In regards to social change, Krishna firmly believes that for young women to push this agenda, they must be brave. “Young women need to be fearless and unintimidated." In today’s world there are certain jobs that senior professionals still believe can only be done well by a man. This type of thinking still exists in today’s world, despite all the progress made thus far in gender equality. There is a need for women to be strong and confident in the face of adversity. They need to stick to their opinions and not have anyone try to shake their stance.”
He continued by re-emphasizing the importance of a supportive environment in creating a positive mindset particularly where it relates to achievement. “Through teaching and building skills in entrepreneurship, women can branch out and/or become business owners breaking the stigma that women are only allowed to do certain jobs.” He gave the example of traditional male jobs such as plumbing, carpentry and mechanics providing opportunities for women to work as well.” Moreover, Krishna mentioned that mentorship, through other women with success stories, is a great way to inspire and motivate other upcoming young and ambitious women to want more out of life.
“Our traditional society was molded in such a way that ensured women played domesticated roles in the household, such as child rearing, cleaning and cooking. Today our world is changing and so too are the roles of women; rightly so.” He highlighted that women are just as intelligent, with unique perspectives, and as such, can contribute to senior business decisions in any company. “The problem lies in the traditionalist views which are subconsciously hidden and prevalent in our society. This is where the role of males do come into play.”
He digressed by giving the example of the epitome of flawed thinking that plagues societies as it pertains to divisive and discriminatory mindsets.
He highlighted that this popular argument which builds on bringing people together by avoiding discrimination is more effective than division. It can similarly be applied to gender equality. “Why, for example, should companies or scholarship opportunities go out of their way to show a preference for having an increased presence of women?” He continued, “...Inequality exists throughout this world and many nations are actively seeking a resolve. Iceland, for example, quite recently made it illegal to pay a woman less than a man in similar roles. Very often the argument surfaces, why should women attain different treatment? Why should they be targeted for domestic abuse workshops only? Yes, men sometimes are abused but what is the major problem at hand? It is women majorly being victimized and abused not men! Therefore, specialized targeted workshops are required for women to correct these anomalies and injustices that exist in the traditional society.”
“This leads to the main role of men and boys in female empowerment.” Krishna highlighted that men and boys need to understand that
women need a distinct and separate platform of their own to voice their concerns, to equalize the historical injustices, and to let their voices be heard. He ended forcefully by stating that the role of men and boys is to be understanding, supportive and to help champion female involvement or equality. “Negative comments about special treatment only serve to antagonize an already sensitive topic.”
Krishna Clarke is an experienced risk analyst, currently employed with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). He holds a MSc. in Risk Management and Financial Regulation from the Queen’s University Belfast and a BSc. in Banking and Finance from the University of the West Indies. Krishna is also nearing the completion of his second master’s degree at the University of Leicester in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management. Krishna holds various certificates under topics of gender, development, inequality and governance at notable Universities and institutions such as University of Oxford, Maastricht University and the World Bank. His passion is guided by his current job and recent studies, and rests mainly within regional development.