initiatives for promotion of social justice in education, health, poverty, provide substantial benefits to The Bahamas’ Criminal Justice System.
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BAHAMAS Beijing +25 NATIONAL REVIEW ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BEIJING DECLARATION AND PLATFORM FOR ACTION 2019 TWENTY FIFTH A NNIVERSARY OF THE FOURTH WORLD CONFERENCE ON WOMEN AND THE ADOPTION OF THE BEIJING DECLARATION AND PLATFORM FOR ACTION
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Question 25 National Human Rights Institutions 76 Question 26 Actions in the last 5 years on women, peace and security agenda 76 Question 27 Action taken on conflict prevention 78 Ques tion 28 Action taken to enhance accountability for violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law 78 Question 29 Action taken to eliminate discrimination against the girl child 80 Question 30 Action taken for Environmental and National Resources Policies 83 Questio n 31 Act ion ta ken for D isaster R isk R eduction and C limate R esilience 88 Question 32 National Gender Machinery 89 Question 33 Beijing Stakeholders Forma l Participation 90 Question 34 National Coord ination Mec hanisms 91 Question 35 National Plan and Strategy 92 Question 36 Top Three Areas Of Progress National Statistics 93 Question 37 Top Three Priorities For Strengthening Nation al Gender Statistics 95 Question 38 Indicators For Monitoring Progress On SDGs 97 Question 39 Data Collection And Compilation For SDG 5 9 8 Question 40 Disaggregation In Major Surveys 98 TABLE OF CONTENTS Question 1 Achievements, Challenges And Set – Bac ks – Past Five Years 5 Question 2 Top Five Priorities Of 2014 2019 13 Question 3 Intersectional Discrimination 20 Question 4 Implication Of Humanitarian Crisis 26 Question 5 Top Five Priorities For Progress For Women And Girls 27 Question 6 Women In Paid Work And Unemployment 33 Question 7 Unpaid Care And Domestic Work 41 Question 8 Fiscal Consolidation Measures From 43 Question 9 Reduction Of Poverty Among Women And Girls 45 Question 10 Improve Access To Social Protection For Women 49 Question 11 Health Outcom es 51 Question 12 Education 55 Question 13 Violence Against Women 58 Question 14 Actions Prioritized To Address Violence Against Women 61 Question 15 Prevention Strategies 65 Question 16 Actions Taken To Prevent Violence Against Women And Girls By Technology 67 Question 17 Action Taken To Address The Portrayal Of Women And Girls In The Media 68 Question 18 Action Taken For Women Experiencing Multiple Forms Of Discrimination 68 Que stion 19 Actions Taken To Promote Participation In Public Life And Decision Making 69 Q uestion 20 Actions Taken To Increase Participation In Media And ICT 72 Question 21 Track Gender Responsive National Budgeting 73 Question 22 Track Overseas Official Development Aid 73 Question 23 National Strategy/ Action Plan For Gender Equality 74 Question 24 Implementation O f CEDAW, UPR And Another Human Rights Mechanism 75
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BAHAMAS National Review Beijing+25 2019 3 Acknowledgements The successful completion of this Beijing+25 Bahamas National Review was possible because of the invaluable contribution s , projects, research, initiatives , annual reports and consulta tions completed by so many agencies and stakeholders , during the period under review (2014 – 2019) . within the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, is the le ad agency of this document. Special thanks are extended to: Executive Leadership: Hon. Frankie Al fred Campbell Minister of Social Services and Urban Development 2018 – 2019 Hon. Lanisha Tamar Rolle Minister of Social Services and Urban Development 20 17 – 2018 Hon. Melanie Griffin – Minister of Social Services and Community Development 2012 – 2017 Hon. Michael Foulkes Parliamentary Secretary Ministry of Social Services and Urban Dev. 201 9 Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development – Sherrylee Sm ith , and David Cates – Permanent Secretaries Department of Gender and Family Affairs – Dr. Jacinta Higgs, Christine Campbell, and Gaynell Curry Directors ; Melvelyn Symonette, Simone Bridgewater, Elaine Hinsey, Elaine Sands, Henry Johnson, VeChenda Robert s, Markayla Major, Allicia Rolle, Torree Musgrove, Ella Rolle Bain . Department of Socia l Services Lillian Quant Forbes – Acting Director ; Zenovia Coakley – Mills , and L isa Ingraham Urban Renewal Kellen Russell Acting Director, and Sheryl Knowles National C ommission for Persons with Disabilities Iris Adderley, and Maria Kelley, Office of the Attorney General – Chief Counsel Jewel Major and Alicia Gibson Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Dorothea Lafleur, Celsus Williams and DeAndra Cartwright Ministr y of Educa tion – Sharmaine Sinclaire, and Monique Wilchombe Department of Statistics – Cora Mackey Royal Bahamas Police Force – Superinten den t Janet Mckenzie – Planning and Research Unit and Superintendent Dr. Indira Adderley Ministry of Health – Dr Calae Philip pe, SNO Sherry Armbrister and Marcel Johnson Office of Prime Minister – Sustainable Development Goal Technical Committee Aneesah Abdullah UNAIDS Dr. Sandra Smith University of The Bahamas – Retired Justice Rubie Nottage, Dr. Robin Roberts, Dr. Ian B ennett – Bethell , Dr. Nicolette Bethel, Dr. Christopher Curry and Dr. Lisa Benjamin Civil Society – Dr. Anthony Hamilton and Virginia Hall Bahamas Crisis Centre – Dr. Sandra Dean – Patterson and Dr. Novia Carter – Lookie, Annick Brennen, Alicia Sands and Leil a Greene Special acknowledgements and g ratitude are also extended to the many national, regional and international agencies and institutions that provided technical and financial funding for capacity development for the Department of Gender and Family Af fairs, including: U nited Nations Economic Council of Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) , Joint Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UN Women Barbados, CARICOM, IDB, CDB, PAHO , WHO , National Women Adviso ry Council, Zonta Bahamas, Generali Insurance, Aliv, Star General Insuranc e, United States Embassy, Josiah Leadership Institute and Women United.
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BAHAMAS National Review Beijing+25 2019 4 Executive Summary In 1999, American astronaut Scott Kelly told the world that, the aquamarine water s surr ounding The Bahamas is t he most beautiful view from space. The Bahamas celebrate this powerful endorsement of the natural beauty of our islands; however, the task of governance of our vast archipelagic paradise, is enormously grand . Seven hundred (700) isl ands and cays, 100,000 s quare miles of sea, 5,300 square miles of land, 380,000 people, 5 hospitals, 61 clinics, 170 schools, 42 airports, and 1650 registered ships comprising one of the largest shipping registries in the world comprise our ominous reality . A reality which mandat es that initiatives, resources, projects and programmes listed in t he following twelve Beijing Declaration of concerns for women and girls, must be replicated in all major islands and cays of The Bahamas. Beijing Declaration 12 are as of concerns from the Fourth World Conference on Women 1. Increasing poverty on women lacking employment, housing, food, water and transportation 2. Unequal access to education, training, technology and lifelong learning initiatives 3. Inadequate access to qualit y health care, relat ed services, health campaigns and research 4. Multiple forms of violence and discrimination committed against women 5. Armed and other kinds of conflict on women, including those living under foreign occupation 6. Legislative barriers to access credit for businesse s , crown land, and natural resources 7. Insufficient women in parliament, on government boards and with government contracts 8. Limited legislation, quota policies and national projects for the advancement of women 9. Lack of resp ect for and inadequa te promotion and protection of the human rights of women 10. Negative Stereotype and limited participation of women in media, construction, science and technology 11. Unequal women participation in the management of natural resource s, and the environme nt 12. Persistent discrimination and violation of the rights of the girl child From 2014 to 2019, the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action yielded challenges and successes. The Bahamas pursuit toward achieving equality a nd empowerment for women and girls include d strategic, concerted effort s of so many agencies and stakeholders . T his Beijing+25 National Review will reveal that for the past 25 years, The Bahamas has made concerted effort s to implement and achieve the Beiji ng Platform for Action especially in areas of education, health and social protections. The priorit y of implementing the Beijing Platform for Action , was driven by the political will to fulfil obligations of The Bahamas as a sign atory to the 1995 Beijing D eclaration and the political will to achieve Goal # 5 of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goal s. The t op five national priorities for Beijing implementation include : increase women representation in parliament, increase women ownership of land and business es, increase scientific research, increase laws for rights and protections of marginalized persons and eliminat ion of discrimination and all forms of violence against women and girls . Regionally, The Bahamas, is committed to fulfilling the goals of CARICOM gender equality initiatives for promotion of social justice in education, health, poverty, and the economy. As a member of the Organization of American States/Inter – American Commission on Women (OAS/CIM), The Bahamas is a signatory to the Inter – American C onvention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Bel em do Pará). Internationally, The Bahamas is obliged to fulfil t he goals of several agreements, treaties and conventions which were signed and ratified. S ome of these include: The Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality, 2005 – 2015; the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) ratified in 1993; the Beijing Platform for Action, 1995; the International Labour O rganization (ILO) Conventions; the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) ratified in 1991; the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, signed in 2013; and the United Nations 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SD Gs).
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BAHAMAS National Review Beijing+25 2019 5 SECTION ONE: PRIOR ITIES, ACHIVEMENTS, CHALLENGES & SETBACKS 1. What has been the most important achievements, challenges and setbacks in progress towards gender equality and the empowerment of women over the past 5 years? ACHIEVEMENTS 2014 – 2019 1.1 Th e Legislative Agenda of The Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas demonstrates de jure commitment to enhancing the quality of life of all persons within its territory. With respect to women, the Government is making notable efforts to ensure that women are able to partic ipate fully and equally in all aspects of Bahamian life. Some of the Acts passed, Bills tabled and Initiatives accomplished in the past five years which address aspects of protection, access, advancement and acknowledgment of women and girls are: i. Sexual Of fences Amendment Act 2014 : An act to provide for a sex offender register and regis try. Section 2 of the amendment act inserts sections 26A – 26J into the principal Act. To establish a sex offender register and a sex offender registry. ii. Child Protection Amend ment Act 2014 : Section 3 of the Amendment allows the insertion of Part XIIIA into the principal A ct. Part XIIA establishment of guidelines for mandatory action rescuing children operation. iii. Persons with D isabilities ( E qual O pportunities) A ct 2014 : Sectio n 4 of the A ct allows for the establishment of The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities. Section 10 (1) Functions of the Commission. (1)(b) (ii) to advise the M inister on the provisions of any international treaty or agreement relating to th e care of re habilitation and habitation of persons with disabilities and its benefits to the country (iii) to recommend measures to prevent discrimination against persons with disabilities iv. National Tripartite Council Act 2015 : An act to establish a tripar tite forum o n labour and industrial relations. Section 4 – The functions and powers of the council are (a) to practice and promote tripartism in The Bahamas through cooperation, consultation, negotiation and compromise of the social partners in order to cr eate and sha pe social and economic policies and programs. (b) To also advise the government on the formulation of national policies and strategies on all aspects of labour, productivity, quality and competition. v. National Health Insurance Act 2016 : The A ct repeals the N ational H ealth I nsurance A ct of 2007 and implements a N ational H ealth I nsurance P lan, to establish a N ational H ealth I nsurance A uthority, for the establish ment a N ational H ealth insurance fund. The N ational H ealth I nsurance P lan is to facilit ate the provision of accessible, affordable, equitable and quality health care services to all eligible persons. vi. Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) (Amendment) Act, 2018: The amendment of the criminal evidence (witness anonymity) act now allows f or a wi tness to give testimony Magistrate Panel or a Judge. vii. Affordable Homes Act, 2018: The Affordable Homes Act allows for an applicant who purchases a service lot of a governm ent owned subdivision or imports materials to construct a single – family dwelling home, to be entitled to exemption from custom duties viii. Economic Empowerment Zones Act, 2018: The Economic Empowerment Zones A c t allow s for a property owner of a dwelling house or business that seeks to renovate or restore the property to be exempt from paying real property taxes, concessions on custom duties and exemption from excise taxes. The A ct also allows for there to be a w aiver o f business licensing fees, exemption of custom duties on business/commercial vehicles and exemption of excise taxes for businesses. ix. Constitution Amendment Act 2018 : allowed for the establishment of the office of the D irector of P ublic P rosecutions (DPP). T he insertion of Section 78 (1) into the constitution allowed for the Attorney General to be the principal legal adviser to the Government of The Bahamas; section (2) for him to be responsible for the administration of legal affairs
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BAHAMAS National Review Beijing+25 2019 7 Table No. 2 – Public and Private Student Enrolment by School Type – 2017 – 2018 School Year. Source: Department of Education, Science and Technology A review o f enrollment, graduation, and attainment data show that females were more likely to enroll in higher education. For the period 2010 to 201 7, enrollment of females at the College of The Bahamas (COB) and The Bahamas Baptist Community College was almost thre e times as large as that of males. Figure – 1 College / University of The Bahamas – Graduation , by Sex, 2010 – 2017 Source: The College of The Bahamas
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BAHAMAS National Review Beijing+25 2019 8 Table 3 : BBCC Graduation by Sex, 2010 – 2017 (Source: Department of Statistics – Labour Market Newsletter 2017) 1.3 In 2015 , The Leadership for Women in Politics Course celebrated its inaugural graduation ceremony, when sixteen women from divergent age groups, backgroun ds and political views, became the first certificate recipients of the programme. The College of The Bahamas, i n conjunction with the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development, through the Bureau – week course to enlighten, educate and inspire more Bahamian women to pursue political leadership roles . The programme rece ived phenomenal commendations and a second cohort of the course was likewise offered. Representation in the course came from political parties an d a full spectrum of age groups. Arinthia Komolafe, leader of the DNA Political Party, is a graduate of this co urse. The course was designed to cover every aspect of frontline politics. A cross – section of experts served as lecturers and topics included Is sues Affecting Women in Politics; Protocol and Etiquette; Transformational Leadership; Parliamentary Procedures Bahamas; Laws Relating to Women in The Bahamas; Public Speaking: Communications and t he Media; Balancing Family and Public Life; and Strategic Campaign Management. The six – week course was a partia l implementation of a commitment made in a report to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to tak e action to increase the number of women in politics. The course was also in response to the Beijing Declaratio n and Platform for Action that set a 30 per cent target for women in decision – making to be achieved. According to mapping completed by the inter – Parliamentary Union and UN/Women on Women in Politics 2015, The Bahamas ranked 43rd for women in ministerial po sitions (20 – 24.9 per cent) and 98 for women in parliament (both Upper and Lower Chambers). In The Bahamas, women made up 53.4% of electorate in the last elections hence it was advocated that a more significant percentage of women should be candidates and offer for parliament and more women must be encouraged to support women candidates and parliamentarians. The United Nations has requested governm ents to implement a quota system of minimu m 30% women candidates by all political parties as (DGFA Annual Repor t. 2015) 1.4 I n 2018 , Women in Politics Mentoring Conclave was the Department of Gender and Family Affairs brought together more than twenty – five (25) powerful women in Bahamian politics. The women leaders represented every political party, and the distinguished cadre of women pa rliamentarians and politicians included Lanisha T. Rolle, Cabinet Minister of Youth , Sports and Culture and President of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association – Free National Movement (FNM); Hon. Katherine Forbes – Smith President of the Senate (FNM); Ho n. Jasmine Dareus – FNM Senator; Jennifer Isaac – Dotson – Senator FNM;
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BAHAMAS National Review Beijing+25 2019 9 Anafae Fergus on – Knowles – Senator FNM; Jobeth Coleby Davis Senator PLP; Shonel Ferguson Member of Parliament FNM; Miriam Emmanuel Member of Parliament FNM; Arinthia Komolafe – Lead er of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA); and S. Ali McIntosh – Leader of The B ahamas Constitution Party, (BCP); Hon. Cynthia Pratt – former Deputy Prime Minister, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP); Dame Hon. Janet Bostwick – the first woman elected to serve in the House of Assembly and first female Attorney General, FNM; Hon. Italia Johnson – first female Speaker of the House of Assembly, FNM; Hon. Melanie Griffin former Cabinet Minister of Social Services, PLP; Gladys Sands former Senator FNM, Chery l Bazard – former Senator PLP, Robyn Lynes – former Senator PLP and Dr. Jacinta H iggs former Senator FNM. Additionally, more than fifteen women political candidates from previous general elections were present. More than one hundred and fifty women fro m all political parties, the armed forces, education and health professionals, civi l society, non – governmental organizations and the clergy attended the event. Dame Janet Bostwick shared a lived history of women in politics in The Bahamas and called for ge nder unity, equity, and equality for men and women as was agreed in 1995 in Beijing where 189 countries agreed to promote the 12 concerns for women. It was noted that a national quota system of 30% minimum for all political parties to include women candida tes in winnable seats , is necessary for more women to serve alongside men in parlia ment. It was explained that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, CEDAW and the Beijing Platform for Action are actively advancing the international agenda of 50 /50 by 2030. (DGFA Annual Report. 2018) 1.5 Establishment of the Department of Gend er and Family Affairs (DGFA) in October 2016 marked a significant achievement towards gender equality and the empowerment for women in The Bahamas. In June 1981 a Women’s Desk was established. The Desk was renamed the Women’s Affairs Unit in September 1987 and renamed the Bure au of Women’s Affairs in January 1995. The elevation from the Bureau to Department included an extension of mandate, structure, staffing and budget. As reflected in its new name, DGFA serves to coordinate, advocate and inform policy fo r and on behalf of wo men and girls, men and boys. The scope of work of the Department has been expanded to ensure a comprehensive approach to address the country’s social challenges, create educational programs, provide training for women and girls and to monitor the implement ation of international conventions that impact women, men, boys and girls. In December 2018, The Bahamas strengthened the DGFA as the National Machinery for advancement of women, by increasing the staff complement of the Department whi ch now includes a Dir ector, Senior Public Officer, Domestic Violence Specialist, Gender Base Violence Coordinator, Male Programme Coordinator, Education Curriculum Specialist, Records Registrar, Administrative Assistant, Gender Conventions Expert and a Res earch Specialist. (Ge nder Based Task Force Strategic Plan. 2015) 1.6 CEDAW Preparations and Appearance serves as a highlight for The Bahamas as it was the pinnacle achievement of years of preparation, countless consultations, and many inter – agency CEDAW co mmittee meetings. The Department of Gender and Family Affairs conducted several awareness – raising initiatives concerning the provisions and articles of the CEDAW Convention. In 2014, Minister Melanie Griffin led a delegation to the United Nations in New Y ork to present the fi rst through fifth Periodic Reports. Following this significant feat, the Inter – agency CEDAW Committee comprising of government ministry representatives, civil society leaders, and non – governmental stakeholders, convened monthly to prep are for The Bahamas’ appearance before the CEDAW Committee of Experts for the Sixth Periodic Report. In May 2015 the Bureau of Women’s Affairs disseminated the CEDAW concluding observations at a Stakeholder’s meeting held in which the following entities w ere represented: Heal th and Family Life Unit, Primary Health and Family Life Unit; Department of Education; Adolescent Health Unit; Ministry of Health; Department of Statistics; Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute; Providing Access to Continued Educ ation (PACE) Foundati on; Bahamas Bar Association; local office of the Organization of American States (OAS); Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration; Pan – American Health
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BAHAMAS National Review Beijing+25 2019 10 Organization (PAHO/WHO); Eugene Dup uch Law School; local office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); Caribbean Association For Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA); and Society Against Stigmatization and Hate (SASH); Disability Affairs Division; Office of the Attorn ey General and Minist ry of Legal Affairs; Ministry of Social Services and Community Development; Ministry of National Security; the Women’s Branch of the Free National Movement (FNM); Department of Social Services; Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF); and th e Bureau of Women’s A ffairs. (BWA. Annual Reports.2014 2015) On 22 September 2016, a CEDAW education forum was held in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Males and females representing Government and Non – Governmental organizations and high school students were in a ttendance. In Novemb er 2017, during National Women’s Week, a CEDAW Town Hall meeting was held in New Providence. The audience learnt about the sixteen (16) priority articles and the recommendations for implementation. On 22 June 2018, the National Women’s Advisory Council in collaboration with the Department of Gender and Family Affairs, held an education forum on CEDAW for a cross – section of Government, Non – Government and Civil Society organizations and the media. A Member of the CEDAW Committee served as the featured speaker . (DGFA Annual Reports. 2016 2018). On Monday, 15 October 2018, CEDAW Inter – agency committee members organized a Mock CEDAW Session held at the University of The Bahamas (UB). Over two hundred high school and University of The Bahama s students attended t he interactive session with the Minister of Social Services and Urban Development. The Department of Gender and Family Affairs utilized this event to appraise the public on its progress with CEDAW preparations and to survey the thought s of the attendees re garding the principal articles of CEDAW. Following his address, Minister Campbell responded to many questions posed by UB Students and Civil Society representatives present. (Guardian Supplement. DGFA. 2019) On 25 October 2018, Honoura ble Minister Frankie A. Campbell led The Bahamas’ delegation which appeared before the Experts of CEDAW Committee in United Nation Geneva, Switzerland to engage in the constructive dialogue. The 71st session to review women’s rights, held at the UN’s Palai s des Nations, was fo rmally opened by Ms. Dalia Leinarte, the CEDAW chairperson. Marion Bethel, the first Bahamian female elected expert to serve on the CEDAW Committee in Geneva, warmly greeted The Bahamas’ delegation following the session. (DGFA Annual R eport.2018) 1.7 P artn erships with Civil Society and NGOs SDG # 17 – In October 2018, the Department of Gender and Family Affairs presented over $150,000 to several non – governmental organizations (NGOs) to support programmes, projects and seminars that fulf il aspects of the DGF A mandate which includes the economic, and social advancement of families, men, women, boys and girls. The NGO representatives were reminded to document and submit evidence, including data, of ways their programmes and interventions ge nuinely empower women and girls to reduce poverty and improve the quality of their lives. The Bahamas provides annual grants to non – governmental and religious organizations to facilitate their work in support of victims/survivors of violence, including th e provision of shelte rs and counselling services. The Crisis Centre, The Links Safe House, The Salvation Army, Great Commission Ministries and The Bahamas AME Conference are few of the recipients of annual government subventions. (Bahamas National Budget 2 014 2019)
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