Prominent sorority calls for more female leaders in healthcare during mock parliament session

By Cara Hunt

Tribune Features Writer


The members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority recently held their second mock parliament session where they called for more inclusive policies for women in the STEM and healthcare industries in the country.

The “AKA Day in Parliament” was a joint effort between the sorority’s three local chapters: Eta Psi Omega, Pi Upsilon Omega and Tau Nu. It was dedicated to the advancement of woman’s health and well-being.

Ramona Wells moved the resolution for the day’s debate, which was to address the critical issues surrounding women’s well-being and to achieve more inclusivity.

“The women of parliament recognise that to drive this positive change in women’s healthcare in our surrounding communities can involve a plethora of initiatives, inclusive of empowering our families, building economic wealth, enhancing our environment, advocating for social justice, and uplifting local communities,” she said.

In her contribution to the debate, Ms Wells noted how important it is for there to be polices to support women in STEM careers.

“This is not just a matter of gender equality, but it is a deliberate call for the advancement of our nation and the well-being of our people,” she said.

She further noted that women continue to face systematic barriers such as gender bias, unequal access to resources and limited representation, especially considering the fact that only 35 percent of recent Bahamian graduates in the STEM fields were women.

Ms Wells said the country has a legacy of trailblazing women who have made significant contributions - from Dr gender rights activist Marion Bethel to public health pioneer Dr Merceline Dahl Regis; from Rhodes Scholar Dr Desiree Cox to neuro-scientist Tameka Lundy and Dr Rayshan Davis, a young Bahamian researcher who has been instrumental in raising funding for minorities in the STEM industry in the United States at Louisiana State University.

Alana Major seconded the resolution, noting that the disparity in healthcare leadership between the genders is also striking. She said it is predominately women who deliver the healthcare, but men largely leading it. It is a situation that has been coined “delivered by women, led by men,” by the World Health Organisation.


Alana Major of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority

Globally, she said, 69 percent of health organisations and 80 percent of boards are led by men, despite women comprising 70 percent of the global health sector providing care to around five billion people.

Ms Major said it is crucial that more women are placed in leadership roles in healthcare because women offer diverse perspectives, empathy, collaboration and holistic problem-solving rooted in care-giving roles. They embody compassion, resilience and a commitment to service to all mankind.

“Thankfully, in the Bahamas, women have made notable achievements in healthcare leadership,” she noted.

Ms Major named Linda Gibson, the former head of Atlantic Medical, and Patricia Herman, the head of the National Insurance Board and Family Guardian, as examples of healthcare sector leaders.

She said more must be done to ensure that woman have the opportunity to thrive in leadership positions, including having supportive and on-site child care services and family-friendly policies, as well as after-school programmes, and most important, workplace lactation support.

Additionally, she called for an increase in training, mentorship and networking opportunities.

“I am very serious about gender equity policies such as quotas for women to hold leadership positions and paying them equitably,” she said.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment