By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
SOCIAL Services Minister Frankie Campbell yesterday admonished Bahamians to make the protection of women and girls “a personal responsibility,” urging those seeking to bring harm to them to “turn away from their wicked ways”.
His comments came in the House of Assembly as he announced plans to attend the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) and local activities surrounding International Women’s Day.
Mr Campbell, who was criticised recently and later apologised after he dismissed questions about a rise in reported rapes, yesterday implored Bahamians to wear purple in honour of International Women’s Day tomorrow to commemorate the advancement of women and girls in society.
“I also want to take this occasion to admonish those who are minded to harm our women and girls to repent of the mere thought,” he said.
“Mr Speaker, I admonish (those) who seek to harm our women and girls to turn away from their wicked ways.
“Mr Speaker, I ask all here present and all within the sound of my voice to take it as a personal responsibility to keep an open eye, to be the good Samaritan, to be the good neighbour to look out for and help protect our women and girls.”
Mr Campbell also highlighted the accomplishments of noted Bahamian women, saying that it was time to “pause and celebrate” the varied roles women have played in the Bahamian society.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the matriarchs and trailblazers of our society who fought alongside their male counterparts for justice and equality,” he said.
“Women in The Bahamas have made and continue to make (an) invaluable contribution to national building.”
Reflecting on this year’s United Nation’s theme for International Women’s Day: ‘Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change,’ Mr Campbell challenged all sectors across The Bahamas to be creative and innovative in bringing about gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
To that end, he pointed to the ongoing excellence of Bahamian females, noting that as of May 2018, 68 percent of justices, 83 percent of registrars and 57 percent of magistrates are women.
Mr Campbell added that in politics, five percent of Cabinet ministers, 12 percent of parliamentarians and 43 percent of senators are also women.
Moving over to education, the Southern Shores MP revealed that 68 percent of private high school principals and 62 percent of public high school principals are woman.
He also noted that in healthcare, 45 percent of physicians and 75 percent of hospitals administrators are female.
Lastly, Mr Campbell pointed out that in the public service, 78 percent of directors, 31 percent of Family Island administrators, nine percent of chief councillors and 65 percent of permanent secretaries and secretaries to the Cabinet are women.
“Women have excelled in many other fields including the arts, sports and in traditionally male dominated fields,” Mr Campbell contended.
A church service was held at Evangelistic Temple last Sunday to kick start local International Women’s Day activities. A National Women’s Advisory Council strategic stakeholders’ luncheon and University of Bahamas pep rally are scheduled for today.
And then, finally, personnel from the Department of Gender and Family Affairs will carry out several school visits, while an award ceremony and luncheon for former and current presidents of Urban Renewal and senior’s associations will all occur on Friday.
Mr Campbell is further expected to lead the Bahamian delegation to CSW63 next week.
The Commission on the Status of Women is a principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality.
It is instrumental is promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
At CSW63, Mr Campbell said he intends to address the General Assembly on the progress the Bahamas has made in fulfilling the UN’s mandate, as well as participate in number of sessions which will provide research data and best practices on social protection systems and policies for the advancement of women and girls.