FRED Mitchell, the Fox Hill MP, yesterday declared his support for those fighting for women’s equality in The Bahamas, urging the women of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) to “seize the day”.
In an open letter to the PLP’s women’s branch, Mr Mitchell questioned why women should be discriminated against because of an accident of biology, describing it as “patent nonsense and totally unfair”.
He wrote: “Why should you in 2014 be stuck as victims of a legal doctrine that dates way back to the 19th century?”
Mr Mitchell said he hoped that the four Constitutional Amendment Bills now before Parliament soon become law and referred to the public for their approval in a referendum, which has been postponed to next year.
“The PLP, and more importantly for this purpose PLP women, should seize the initiative to ensure that these bills pass and are approved by our fellow citizens’” Mr Mitchell wrote. “I know that the PLP Women’s Branch will be amongst its leading proponents. It is my hope that this letter encourages more women to get involved. Why should you and your daughters have fewer privileges in this society than any man simply because of the accident of biology?”
He paid tribute to the “exemplary leadership” on the issue of Glenys Hanna Martin, Melanie Griffin, Hope Strachan, Cheryl Buzzard and Allyson Maynard Gibson, who he wrote “have been steadfast in their defence of the effort toward equality for women”.
He recalled a branch meeting where he detected hesitation amongst male members on the issue, which he put down to “the clutter of nonsense that has been spun about this issue in public mainly by a regressive, old male dominated opinion”.
“I told them that, as a man, I could be quite comfortable and do nothing because the changes in the law will not affect me one way or another in law as far as equal treatment is concerned. Men are largely secure. They have no issues of disrespect and inequality to worry about. So you have to take then what those males who are campaigning against this have to say on cultural and religious grounds with a great deal of salt.
“They must declare their interest, which in my view is that they are seeking to protect a male privilege and are hiding behind the clutter of other things to hide the fact that they do not want women to be equal to men in law. In the process, they are not only denying women equality but also denying children their right to the citizenship of this country.”
Mr Mitchell pointed to the fact that there were 15,000 more women on the electoral rolls in the last general election than men. “This should therefore be a slam dunk if you mobilise the women of the country to vote yes,” he wrote. “For you, for our mothers, for our sisters, for our daughters, I urge your support.”