International Women’s Day
Recently we celebrated all women everywhere.
International Women’s Day is intended to highlight women all around the world. It is a day when accomplishments of women should be the focus of everyone’s attention. Every newspaper should have a column dedicated to our heroines. But as I read the local papers on March 8, I might have overlooked it, but there was very little said about the day or the accomplishments of Bahamian women. What happened? Was it an oversight, or have we forgotten Dame Doris Johnson, Ruby Ann Darling, Janet Bostwick, Dame Marguerite Pindling, Sylvia Scriven, Eileen Carron, Mother Pratt, Pastor Lavenia Stewart and the scores of other women including the straw vendors, the janitors and maids, who have made invaluable contributions to the country? Or is it because humanism is no longer a factor?
I must say the radio stations made an effort to showcase the importance of this day. Hats off to one radio host in particular whose entire show was dedicated to this day. He placed great emphasis on how important women are to the stability of the family, mentioning several of our heroines. As I listened to him, it took me back to the days when every boy was quick to fight if you said to him ‘Das ya ma’. In many cases, your pa might not be around — he was either at work or no longer a part of the family — but your ma, oh lord, your ma was always there.
Throughout my daily activities I am privileged to interact with elderly mothers and widows on a regular basis. While the majority of them are fortunate to have caring relatives who have not turned their backs or forgotten them, there are a noticeable number whose children pay little or no attention to them. In the homes for the elderly there are ‘pearls’, whose children, even though they pay for them to live at the home, visit very seldom or not at all. And there are some whose children leave them alone in their homes all day; I’m talking about elderly women who are severely handicapped, some of them in disposable undergarments and confined to wheelchairs. What is so distressing is, if you see some of their grown children, you would never think they would treat their family that way. But come Mother’s Day, you can see them parading their mothers up and down in the church and to lunch and dinner all over the place, hogging up the spotlight, talking about what good children they are.
The next day, their ma is sitting at the table in a wheelchair, with a jug of water and leftover food from the Mother’s Day lunch to last her until 6 p.m.
It was recently International Women’s Day. I hope you skipped happy hour to celebrate the day with your ma.
— Anthony Pratt