Pioneers of The Suffrage Movement to be Honoured

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By: Llonella Gilbert

NASSAU, The Bahamas – Pioneers of the suffrage movement, who fought for women to have equal voting rights in The Bahamas, will be celebrated during National Women’s Week, Minister of State for Social Development in the Minister of Health and Social Development the Hon. Loretta Butler-Turner said at a press conference Thursday, November 15, 2007.

Additionally, women who continue to contribute to the development of the country will be honoured throughout that week commencing Sunday, November 25, to Saturday, December 1, 2007.

Mrs. Butler-Turner said that although Bahamian women have been participating in the electoral process for over 45 years, there is still a lot of inequality for women in the country.

“We still have a very long way to go,” she said.  “Just yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak at another place with regards to sexual harassment in the workplace.

“It was interesting to note that even though there are women in our country who are constantly sexually harassed on the job, many of them cannot even get a case to come before the courts, because of the suppression they receive on the job or the threat of loosing their jobs.”

She also pointed out that women in the country are still not making the same salaries as their male counterparts.

“That is very important considering, the majority of the households are headed by females, and women also have to do a job twice as good as the male to be recognised for the same job they are doing.

“The corporate world is dominated by men,” Mrs. Butler-Turner said.  “Although women have made significant strides on so many levels in government, civics and so many places, we are still the ones that are kowtowing to members of the boys club.  So we have a long way to go.”

The National Women’s Week will officially begin with women uniting in prayer, to give thanks for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon them, at the Christ Church Cathedral at 11:15 a.m.

Following the service, a luncheon will be held at the British Colonial Hilton at 1:30 p.m.  Mrs. Cora Bain-Colebrooke, Mrs. Joyce Moxey-Taylor and Mrs. Sylvia Roberts will be honoured for their respective contributions to their contributions to their country and communities.

On Wednesday, November 28, a “Night of Poetry” will be held to feature the talents of local Bahamian women at the National Art Gallery at 7:00 p.m.

A health fair is planned for Thursday, November 29 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the foyer of the Main Post Office on East Hill Street.  Representatives from the Department of Public Health and other healthcare professionals will be available to assist with screenings.

Mrs. Turner-Butler said, “We recognise the importance of good health and we encourage not only our women, but the general public to come out and have their health screenings done.”

She explained that Saturday, December 1, there will be a workshop on the United Nations Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.  The workshop will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Cancer Society on third Terrace Centreville.

Professor Leith Dunn, from the University of the West Indies Centre for Gender and Development Studies will facilitate the workshop, which will discuss the rights of women under this Convention.

Also members of the National Women’s Week planning committee will be visiting selected schools in the capital, to brief students on the suffrage movement and to encourage them to strive for excellence.  Winners of the National Women’s Week Essay Competition will also be announced during the week.