On March 7, 2014, The Ministry of Social Services and Community Development, Bureau of Women’s Affairs, hosted a public forum for International Women’s Day at St. Joseph’s Church Hall, Boyd Road, Nassau Bahamas. The theme for this forum was “Equality for Women, Is Progress for All.” The Moderator for the forum was Melvelyn Symonette from the Women’s Bureau. In attendance were members of parliament, women from various sectors, and students from the following schools:
D.W. Davis, Hope Academy, C.V. Bethel, C.H. Reeves, T. A. Thompson, C.R Walker , T. G. Glover, just to name a few.
The Honourable Melanie S. Griffin, M.P. Minister of Social Services and Community Development began with opening remarks (Photo 1). She stated that in celebration of women’s day, that focus must be placed on recognizing the great leadership and impact women have had in the country and to expand women’s participation in leadership roles across the Bahamas i.e. throughout various sectors and within families. Additionally she spoke about efforts to remove barriers that may impede women’s progress including violence against women, poverty, misconceptions of women’s ability to perform equally in various roles, etc. M.P Griffin re-emphasized that the theme of the day ““Equality for Women, Is Progress for All” should be focused on as we perform our daily practices and make progressive steps into the future.
Photo 1. The Honourable Melanie S. Griffin, M.P. Minister of Social Services and Community Development giving opening remarks at the International Women’s Day public forum at St. Joseph’s Church Hall, Boyd Road, Nassau Bahamas. Photo taken by Felicity Burrows, The Nature Conservancy.
Following M.P. Griffin’s opening remarks was Anastacia Huyler, a very energetic and inspirational youth activist in the Bahamas (Photo 2). Ms. Huyler spoke about how women need to think about the role they play in society and aim to make a difference while still in existence here on earth. She mentioned that she like many others understands there are obstacles that will be faced but with strength, clear foresight and endurance helps to persevere.
Some of the primary points that were highlighted during Ms. Huyler‘s speech include:
- The importance of building a meaningful legacy,
- The value of teaching about the history of many great Bahamian women and the steps they took in order to make outstanding achievements,
- The significance of increasing our knowledge on the true roots of the Bahamian culture,
- Learning to prioritize our lives in order to lead successfully and,
- Developing a true vision while remaining focus in order to reach the desired goal.
Photo 2. Anastacia Huyler, Youth Activist speaking at the International Women’s Day public forum at St. Joseph’s Church Hall, Boyd Road, Nassau Bahamas. Photo taken by Felicity Burrows, The Nature Conservancy.
Everyone in attendance was so impressed with Ms. Huyler’s energy and message and gave her a standing ovation. A student from Hope Academy further stated that she appreciated all that Ms. Huyler has said and assured her that her message did not fall on deaf ears.
Other speakers that participated in the public forum included Deborah Bartlett, CEO of GEMS Radio who spoke about women in entrepreneurship and; the Honourable Glenys Hanna-Martin, M.P. Minister of Transport and Aviation, who talked about women in political leadership.
To know more about International Women’s Day events in the Bahamas, please visit: http://www.thebahamasweekly.com/publish/community/Women_s_International_Day_celebrated_in_The_Bahamas_printer.shtml