Bahamian Women Must Help Eliminate Gender Discrimination

Bahamian women are being encouraged to get involved and learn about the Commonwealth Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), by DNA’s spokesperson for Social Development and the President of the DNA Women’s Alliance Prodesta Moore.

Moore said she agrees with Senator Allyson Maynard who stated in a recent article “that under no circumstances should the issue of gender equality be politicized.”

“This matter is too important for us be divided on.” Moore said.

“This is a common ground for all women. I encourage the women’s arm of the PLP, the FNM and the DNA to speak out and stand up together as we move towards gaining equality for Bahamian women.”

Moore said women cannot and will no longer accept the law which continues to discriminate against Bahamian women.

“We are calling for civil society and women’s rights advocates to hold educational forums whereby Bahamian women will learn more about their rights and be empowered to stand up against the inequality not only for themselves, but for the future generations of women in this country,” she stated.

“We are asking for the amendment to the constitution to prevent gender discrimination.

“We congratulate the PLP government for announcing their commitment and making a promise to the Bahamian people that a referendum will be presented to the populous before the end of their five-year term, according to Mr. (Fred) Mitchell, who also stated ‘the Government is committed to removing the constitutional anomaly which exists with regard to women and the ability to pass on their citizenship to their children.’

“However he could not give a date as to when this would take place.

“We are aware there are many other pressing issues on the table that are getting full attention including the National Lottery and the by-election in Abaco, but it is our view that the rights of women in this country has been overlooked for too long, and to wait four more years is four years too long.”

Moore stated that women cannot continue to remain silent.

She is asking the Government to look into the matter with urgency and begin the process immediately.

“We are asking that it is placed on their high priority list and gets the urgent attention it deserves. 2013 is the celebration of 50 years for the Women’s Suffrage Movement which demonstrates what we can do when we reach across partisan lines.

“Let us take off our party affiliation and stand together as “women.” We have a voice that is so big that it gives us the power to influence the outcome of an election and gain majority rule, so I encourage you to once again, use your power to vote out against discrimination against Bahamian women when the referendum is presented.

“As part of our celebration of 50 years for the Women’s Suffrage Movement, let us unite for the advancement of women. We have already gained political power and majority rule, but have not advanced the cause for gender equality.

“There is still a huge disparity in pay for women doing the same job as men; and the blatant inequality in our constitution which as it stands now, “children born to a Bahamian woman and a foreign man outside of the country are not granted Bahamian citizenship and must apply like any other immigrant.

“By comparison, children with a Bahamian father are automatically Bahamian citizens, regardless of the nationality of the mother.”

She stated that the Bahamas government, by way of signing on to the CEDAW on October 6 1993, made commitments to the international community and the Bahamian people when it ratified the convention, and as such, is obligated to uphold its commitments.

By Yasmin Popsecu
Freeport News