Categorized | National News

Mitchell Commits To Improving Women’s Participation In Politics

The Bahamas has committed to increasing women participation in politics, following suggestions by the Organisation of American States (OAS) in its special observer mission report on the country’s recent general election.

The OAS Permanent Council convened at the OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell announced the government’s commitment to improving the participation of women in public office.

The report outlined a number of recommendations and criticisms. It called for an independent boundaries commission and campaign financing legislation.

The OAS said the absence of regulation has the potential to impact the accountability, transparency and equity of the democratic process.

But, Minister Mitchell said the most noteworthy observation made in the OAS report was the fact that there were 18,574 more women registered to vote in the last general election than men – approximately 10 per cent of the electorate.

“Two things arise out of that fact and one of them is that the report indicates that that participation by women, even though significantly higher statistically than the participation by men, did not translate into a great number of women making it into public office as a result of the elections.”

Only five women made it into the House of Assembly, which Mr. Mitchell said, only represents about 14 per cent of the total number in the House of Assembly although women make up more than 50 per cent of the population.

Mr. Mitchell said the government will also try to find out why men are not registering to vote and whether this is part of a trend, which the OAS report indicates is consistent with what is happening throughout the region.

“We have also indicated that we will amend the constitution with regard to discrimination against women which will allow, if the public agrees, the spouses of Bahamian women to have parity with the spouses of Bahamian men under the constitution,” he said.

The government also proposed adding in the definition of discrimination in the constitution and the word “gender,” which does not now appear.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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