Social Services and Urban Development Minister the Hon. Lanisha Rolle charged members of the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute (IBWPPI) to strengthen the value of their cause by convincing the world that their cause is not only “right” but it is “good.” Minister Rolle remarked that the Institute’s endeavor is commendable and their efforts and those of organizations similar are crucial to the achievements of goals to end domestic violence against women through the implementation of strategic plans, and the elimination and eradication of violence against women and girls through collaborations of countries. “We can only be successful in our quest to obtain general parity, fairness, equality in employment, and equal participation in leadership spheres if we unite to do the things that are right,” she stated.
The IBWPPI hosted its annual International Women’s Conference, March 1 – 4, 2018 at Melia Nassau Beach Resort. Tourism Director General, Joy Jibrilu, described the conference as “timely” for The Bahamas, where women comprise 51 percent of the population, head 70 percent of the households, but hold only a mere 12 percent representation in Parliament. “You are here at a time when we as a nation are grappling with the mission of gender equality and women’s empowerment. In principle, we Bahamians are all on board with the concept of gender equality, but the question we must attempt to answer truthfully is this, have we as a nation done enough to secure for Bahamian women an equal place at the table,” she said. Ms. Jibrilu remarked that in The Bahamas although women are building strong business brands as entrepreneurs, occupy most of the senior posts in the civil service, are well represented in the executive seats, and comprise 70 percent of student enrollment at the University of The Bahamas, there remains much more ground to be covered. “On the global scene a movement is gathering momentum and we in The Bahamas must not be left behind,” she said.
The Hon. Carl Bethel, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, also dubbed the event “timely” as The Bahamas shares similar issues with the countries the represented in IBWPPI. He applauded the organization for the foresight and will to create the opportunity for black women to share their perspectives. Among the audience was Kay Forbes-Smith, Senate President; Senator Mildred Hall-Watson, Senate Vice-President; the Hon. Paula Cox, former Premier, Bermuda. The aim of the conference was to inspire involvement in the organization’s current initiatives and draw continued focus on its four pillars which are: Human Trafficking, Economic Security, Health and Wellness, and Education. Featured speakers were: Vanessa Deluca, editor-in-chief, Essence Magazine; Gail Perry Mason, financial expert; and McGhee Williams Osse, co-CEO, Burrell Communications Group. Also participating in the conference were: Ambrosine Huyler, senior manager, Scotiabank (Bahamas) Limited; Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson, Vice-Chair, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation; and Paulette Zonicle, past Bahamas Consul General. Session topics included: The Impact of Black Women’s Leadership in a Global Society, Sustainable Economics for Women at Home and Abroad, and Young Women Who Lead. IBWPPI is a non-profit organization led by inter-generational women leaders and represents countries including North America, Belize, Bermuda, Cuba, Haiti, Ghana and The Bahamas.