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Editorial: How Do We Give Women A Fair Chance In Politics?

IN two separate articles in today’s Tribune, the question of gender in politics is raised.

First, former Leader of the Opposition Loretta Butler-Turner says that our nation “is weak” when it comes to gender balance in politics. She points out the absence of female leadership in government in the past 20 years.

In her column this week, Alicia Wallace takes the issue further – to the very biases we are raised with, and how we raise our children with different expectations.

The simple truth is that our Parliament at present does not represent our nation when it comes to demographics. There is only one woman serving in Cabinet, for example. Things do not look like they’re going to get much better after the next election – with less than 30 percent of candidates so far being women.

Missing are strong candidates such as Mrs Butler-Turner, for example. She has stressed she is not re-entering politics, but her presence was notable as she supported DNA leader Arinthia Komolafe after her arrest and release last week. She may not be in politics at present, but people still take notice and listen to what Mrs Butler-Turner has to say.

We should note, then, what she says when she tells us that politics is not easy on women. What to do about that? She suggests “promoting women within the political parties and secondly in terms of being able to have greater support networks for women so that they can be freer to devote a lot of time to representation”.

That may be so – but do we need to start even earlier than that? As Alicia Wallace points out in her column, she notes how children are taught to behave in different ways depending on whether they are boys or girls. As she says, “Boys’ leadership is nurtured and girls’ leadership is discouraged”.

In the end, of course, what we want is for our representatives to be the best. But in discouraging women, we are limiting the number of people we can choose from.

Our current leaders have made noises about more equality – but failing to back it up with more candidates suggests that is little more than lip service.

Mrs Butler-Turner goes on: “I think it was back in 1997 when we would have had the highest amount of women representing in Parliament. At that time, I think there was a 25 percent make up of women in Parliament.”

That’s it? That’s our best? Almost a quarter of a century ago and only a quarter of Parliament?

Whatever we’re doing now doesn’t seem to be changing things – so isn’t it about time for a proper discussion of that? Next time a political candidate knocks on your door or seeks out your vote, ask them what they personally are doing to increase the number of women in Parliament. See then if they deserve your vote.

Change doesn’t come unless we demand it.

Police the beaches

Our front-page headline yesterday caused a bit of a stir, it seems. Covidiots, it declared – but the point was not to just have a snappy headline, but to stir people out of the complacency many have fallen into.

In this column yesterday, we called not for a closing of the beaches, which would have been the obvious knee-jerk response to people congregating en masse in crowds without masks, but to police them.

It might be overdue – where were the police on Sunday on Cabbage Beach – but credit where it is due with the COVID-19 Enforcement Unit saying they will be on high alert over the Easter holiday. As they should be already, and as they should be after the holiday.

Chief Superintendent Zhivago Dames said: “You can expect the COVID ambassadors along with our officers from the Cable Beach Division especially in the Goodman’s Bay and Saunders Beach and those doing their duties out there to ensure that persons are following all of the health protocols.”

Good to hear. Our photographers will be ready too. We’ll be watching.

Comments

quietone 1 week, 4 days ago

I have felt for a long time that our women would do a much better job than our men in governing our country... its like our men have had the job forever, yet not enough is being done at all! And I honestly believe that intelligent Bahamian women should always be consulted for ideas and suggestions to improve the way our problems are handled, even if they are not in our parliament!

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bahamianson 1 week, 4 days ago

Male politicians talk about laying pipe and pumping iron. What do women lay? Do they pump iron?

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John 1 week, 4 days ago

Is this a matter of which comes first, the chicken or the egg? On the one hand, the country is calling for stronger, more powerful and productive leaders to move the country forward. And on the other hand, women are crying for more opportunity or equality. Will women now demand they be allowed to play on men’s NBA teams, then demand the basketball rim be lowered so they can be more effective basketball shooters and score more points? Most of the women politicians in this country in the past were effective. Including Janet Bostwick, Cynthia Pratt, Ivy Dumont? Glenys Hanna-Martin and, yes Loretta Butler-Turner. And even though their numbers never matched the men, they always had an effective presence. And there were no lowering of the bar or compromises made for them to attain their roles or make their accomplishments. It was her own undoing that caused Loretta Butler-Turner to not hold the second highest post in politics today with the strong possibility of one day being prime minister. And maybe that is why she is still shying away from front line politics. And what about other areas and professions where women are dominating and making great strides? In the medical field, in Education and in the legal fields, for example? Where their male counterparts are being pushed aside, overtaken or left behind. The country suffers drastically for the lack of male teachers in the education system. Are compromises willing to be made to ensure equality among the sexes, of will these systems le beft to correct and balance themselves out?

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JokeyJack 1 week, 4 days ago

A woman's place is to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. No woman should have anything to say about politics. Im glad they arrested that DNA woman, now she could shut her mout'

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sheeprunner12 6 days, 4 hours ago

Our society is judged by how we treat our females, our animals, and our graveyards ........ We are doing a bad job on each front.

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