Bahamas, April 28th 2017: The offering of female candidates this Election season calls into question just how many women wish to participate in politics and why there isn’t more Gender Equity in the sphere of governance in The Bahamas. Looking at the parties contesting elections, we see less than one fifth of candidates contesting in two main parties are females. The Progressive Liberal Party has filed nomination papers for seven female candidates out of its 39 going up for elections this year. The Free National Movement has only four female candidates contesting seats this year, while the Democratic National Alliance has put forward 13 female candidates out of the 35 seats it is contesting.
In its Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations highlights this as its fifth goal, where it calls to“Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life”, and to “Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation f
or the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels”.
As to how these women are able to adequately represent gender based issues on the platform, so far candidates have put forward some messages on what their party represents
DNA Candidate, Arinthia Komolafe has spoken out on violence against women. In underscoring party policy, she said the “DNA aligns itself to the fundamental principles and goals set forth by the United Nations (UN) and in particular UN Women to ensure that women and girls everywhere can live in safety, peace and dignity in their communities”.
While PLP’s Social Services and Community Development Minister, Melanie Griffin, at the recently held UN’s Commission on the Status of Women meeting, outlined three initiatives that The Bahamas’ PLP government initiated to address women issues aligned with its Sustainable Development Goals.
She cited the RISE programme, the establishment of the Gender and Family Affairs department, as well as the plans to improve conditions for women in the workplace by introducing: more childcare and breastfeeding facilities, and
legislation to enact social security benefits that address vulnerable groups of women, and promote gender equity in board appointments as some of the actions taken.
While FNM candidate Pakesia Parker Edgecombe mentioned fair opportunities for women in the job market and work place on the platform , calling for women to be given the rights to pursue their passions.
With a little over a week to go before the polls on May 10th, The Bahamas women look to see themselves represented in the manifestos put forward.