By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
HILLARY Clinton made history last year by becoming the first woman to be chosen to run for the highest office in United States by the Democratic Party. The outcome, was unfavourable for Clinton, she demonstrated courage, inspiring women everywhere and quashing misconceptions that running a country is a man’s job.
There are countless women who are making strides in frontline politics and playing significant roles as decision, law and policy-makers in countries around the world.
And while there are more women political contenders in the Bahamas’ 2017 general election compared to the previous cycle, male candidates still make up the overwhelming majority.
There are a little over two dozen women contenders – with 13 representing the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), seven running for the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), four representing the Free National Movement (FNM), and four also representing the Bahamas National Coalition Party (BCP).
In 2012, for the first time in Bahamian history, a team of observers from the Organisation of American States (OAS) was invited to observe the Bahamian general election. The team, composed of 12 international observers, monitored the May 7 elections in 30 constituencies, covering a total of 189 polling stations.
Preliminary recommendations by the OAS, which were released in a press statement that year, noted that while 18,574 more women were registered to vote than men, this level of participation was not reflected in the number of female candidates.
Only 22 of the 133 candidates who ran in the 2012 general election were women – about 16.5 per cent.
The DNA, which has positioned itself as the third major party in the country over the past five years, has met and exceeded its promise of ratifying more female candidates than any of the other political parties.
Back in February of this year, DNA Deputy Leader Chris Mortimer boasted the party would ratify 10 women as candidates.
He said ratifying more female candidates than any other party is a testimony to the organisation’s commitment to equality. He said by the time the process was completed, the organisation would have ratified 10 women. For tomorrow’s election, the DNA will actually be running a total of 13 women.
Running for frontline politics as a woman is no easy task in any country. However, in the Bahamas there remains a great disparity between male and female candidates, despite women being the majority of bread-winners of households, representing more than half of the student population at the University of the Bahamas, and being significant movers and shakers in the private sector. And while not everyone is cut out for a life in politics, this year’s general election begs the question, “Are women considered unfit to run this country?” Regardless of their fate in tomorrow’s race, these women have set out prove otherwise.
Meet the women contenders representing three of the major parties in tomorrow’s election:
(Not pictured are BCP candidates; Annmarie Glinton Rolle (Seabreeze), Lorraine Arthur (Centreville), Denise Wilmore (Marathon) and Angela Cox (Fox Hill).