Countries around the world will observe International Women’s Day this weekend, under the campaign theme Each For Equal; promoting the message that an equal world is an enabled world.
In its statement ahead of Sunday’s observance, the United Nations (UN) said, “International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
“The world has made unprecedented advances, but no country has achieved gender equality,” the UN declared.
The UN’s most recent statistics indicate that women earn 23 percent less than men globally (the wage gap), women occupy only 24 percent of parliamentary seats worldwide and one in three women experience physical or sexual violence.
A sobering finding on gender parity – which is a statistical measure that compares indicators between men and women including income, health and educational attainment came from the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2020 Global Gender Gap report, which revealed that gender parity “will not be attained for 99.5 years”.
In that report, The Bahamas and Barbados scored highest of Latin American and Caribbean countries in closing the gender gap in the category of economic participation and opportunity.
The region closed 72.1 percent of its gender gap, according to the WEF report, progressing one point over the previous year and moving toward gender parity at a rate that would close the gender gap in 59 years.
The Bahamas has so far had two failed attempts at constitutional amendments aimed at bringing gender equality in nationality rights for the children and spouses of Bahamian men and women.
Nevertheless, the Minnis administration pledged to bring amendments to the Bahamas Nationality Act and the Status of Children Act to grant automatic citizenship rights upon application to children born abroad to Bahamian women and children of unwed Bahamian men.
That pledge was made back in 2017, but those amendments have yet to be presented to Parliament.
The Bahamian woman is the backbone and the glue of our nation and our ever-resilient source of stability, ingenuity and strength.
The home is the foundation of every society and in it, the women of this country shape the hearts and minds of future generations and provide the nurturing, support and protection borne out of her natural intuition that helps to make her home and all who dwell therein worthy and safe.
To the women who with skill and uncanny resolve, manage to squeeze 48 hours into a 24-hour day so as to meet the needs of her household and the demands of her profession, we salute you.
To the women who head their households and whose grit and dexterity make a dollar out of fifteen cents, while demonstrating an example of honest pay for honest work that sets the standard for her children, we salute you.
To the women whose brilliance, creativity and commitment to excellence take our workplaces to higher heights and whose recognition of the need to help other women advance fosters cooperation and progress in the public and private sector, we salute you.
To the women whose dedication to their faith and community service are what enable our churches, civic organizations and charities to survive and thrive, we salute you.
To the women who offer themselves for public service in the political arena and who upon their election or appointment serve with distinction, integrity and forward-thinkingness that sets a stellar example for those who are to follow, we salute you.
To the women who have suffered pain, disappointment, heartbreak and great loss but who find it within themselves to persevere and press on toward the hope of a new day, we salute you.
To the everyday women who are working to lift their mind and spirit out of a position of subjugation and inferiority brought about by societal dogmas and life experiences, we salute you.
And to the everyday women who reach out in their own special way to help a sister, colleague, friend or stranger to recognize her worth and her importance in this world, we salute you.
May we grow as a nation in our respect and appreciation of our women and may our nation’s women grow in the knowledge and appreciation of themselves.
A Happy International Women’s Day to the women of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.