The time is now for The Bahamas to fortify its commitments, efforts and partnerships to help women achieve the recommendations put forth by the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Minister of Social Services and Urban Development Frankie Campbell said on Monday.
Addressing the first Women’s Empowerment Summit hosted by the Political Subdivision of Women United at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church Hall, Campbell further said the “time is also now for us to fortify our commitments made to the United Nations Population Development Fund”.
Monday’s summit was sponsored by the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development through its Department of Gender and Family Affairs.
“During the past 16 months I have attended several national, regional and international meetings, workshops and conferences where I witnessed true partnership between government, private sector and civil society,” Campbell told the grouping.
“I have [also] participated in bilateral meetings where issues and concerns of discrimination against women and girls seem insurmountable. There is no mistake, the time is now for us to fortify our commitments, efforts and partnerships to help women achieve the CEDAW recommendations and the commitments made to the United Nations Population Fund.
“This year, over 190 countries around the world will convene at the United Nations to provide reports of their progress and accomplishments since implementing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, 2015. The Bahamas, too, will be required to account for our implementation of the 17 goals, 169 targets and 233 indicators. Let us present a report that is actually working for our women and girls.”
Campbell told his audience that in October 2018, he was “privileged” to lead a delegation to Geneva, Switzerland, for a constructive dialogue with the CEDAW committee on The Bahamas’ progress with respect to the achievement of women’s empowerment.
The committee, he said, noted that they remained concerned about the low participation of women in political and public leadership, in particular the decision-making which could be attributed to a number of factors, among them, patriarchal attitudes, lack of statutory quotas or a parity system for political appointments, limited access to political networks and insufficient capacity-building programs for women in leadership and political skills.
“The committee therefore recommended the following: that we establish concrete goals and time frames for strengthening the equal participation of women in public and political life; provide more training and capacity-building programs for women who wish to enter political life or seek public office; and raise awareness among politicians, the media, church leaders and the general public to ensure the full, equal, free and democratic participation of women in political and public life on an equal basis with men.
“You would agree that it will take a collaborative effort to accomplish these goals. It will take persistence and creativity to diminish the stereotypical beliefs of the roles that women should play with respect to holding leadership positions.
“As the minister with responsibility for women’s affairs, I am proud of this group of dynamic women who have united and decided to take action to bring about positive change, not only for women, but for girls, men and boys. Additionally, your action bodes well for our country,” Campbell concluded.