MINISTER of Social Services and Community Development Frankie Campbell led a mock session of CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) last Monday, inviting high schoolers and college students to learn about The Bahamas' progress.
He presented to the students in the same fashion that he will present to the United Nations body when he leads a delegation to Geneva, Switzerland, on October 21.
Mr Campbell fielded three questions each from UB students Tayte Adderley (media and journalism), Tinarge Moxey (law and criminal justice) and Shaquille Hanna (LLB Bachelors of Law). He then addressed questions from students who attended from schools such as Government High, CV Bethel, RM Bailey, Anatol Rogers and Akhepran International.
Questions touched on topics including of nationality and the failed referenda; the treatment of women who ran for leaders of political parties and inequality in treatment of women in politics; the LGBTQI community, including gender roles and identity; how men will be affected and included; marital rape; sex workers and trafficking; inequality in the workplace and pay scales; and the education system.
Members of the CEDAW national committee were on hand to assist with answers, as the team has been working on preparing the report for many months. Committee members present included Senior Nursing Officer Sherry Armbrister, Kayla Smith of the Office of the Attorney General representing for committee member Jewel Major, senior officer of the Royal Bahamas Police Force Gabriella Pratt and Janet McKenzie, and Director of Gender and Family Affairs Dr Jacinta Higgs.
CEDAW requires states to implement policies and laws to end discrimination against women and to promote equality between the sexes. CEDAW addresses the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of women. The government signed an agreement to the convention in 1993. It was not until July 20, 2012 at the 52nd CEDAW session that the Bahamas presented and therefore submitted its first through fifth reports at that time. The committee, in its concluding observations, recommended that the Bahamas take action to end harmful practices and gender stereotypes, violence against women, increase participation of women in political life, take steps to resolve nationality, education, health, family and marital issues. CEDAW convenes every four years, and Mr Campbell will present the Bahamas' sixth report.