The Bahamas “made history” at the Sixty-Third Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) after being represented by the largest delegation to the event on record, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell told Parliament Wednesday. Minister Campbell said the delegation comprised ninety persons representing a diverse, inter-sectoral grouping of stakeholders. CSW63 was held at United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA under the Priority Theme: “Social Protection Systems, Access to Public Services and Sustainable Infrastructure for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls.”
“For the past ten days, our delegates contributed to the international dialogue and competently shared successes of our National Development as they joined representatives from 140 countries in participating in many High-Level Meetings and hundreds of Side Event Sessions that focused on the priority theme,” Minister Campbell said. “The experiences were extremely intense and highly productive [and] are important in our journey to ensuring gender equality for our women and girls.”Minister Campbell said the Sessions addressed issues such as increased safety for women and girls in public spaces; access to clean water; adequate public health centers; affordable childcare; old-age pension; and public housing for survivors of domestic violence/abuse, among many other matters.
“It was noted that when infrastructure, public services, and social protections are lacking, women and girls are often the ones most impacted. It was also noted that their needs must always be factored in when policies are designed [and that] their voices should shape the decisions that affect their lives because when women are at the table, making decisions, they bring changes that benefit entire societies and nations.“ By attending (a combined) almost 350 meetings, General Assembly Sessions and Side Event Sessions, our delegation would have been able to enhance their knowledge on a variety of topics such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), economic empowerment, mobilization of civil society, social justice, gender equality, prevention of sexual and gender-based violence, human trafficking, social entrepreneurship, sustainable development, gender pay gap and women in media.
“The sharing of ideas improves the condition of women and girls as ideas and innovation translate to tangible actions through programmes and policies in both public and private sectors.”Minister Campbell said the delegation included representatives from 35 non-governmental groups (NGOs) that provide services and assistance to women and girls including the Pilot Club of Nassau, the Zonta Club of The Bahamas, Teen Life Skills, The Bahamas Union of Teachers, Bold and Beautiful, GirlCon and the Josiah Institute.
The delegation also included six youth delegates under the age of 18, including two from the Family Islands, representation from political groupings, in addition to Technical Officers from the Department of Social Services, the Department of Gender and Family Affairs and the Urban Renewal Commission. Each area “works intimately” with social protection, access to resources and services for vulnerable groups of women and girls.” “The diverse composition of the delegation of distinguished ladies who represented The Bahamas, would have been exposed to not only examples of the priority areas having been realized in other countries, but also provided the platform to encourage the delegates to continue their important and integral work with women and girls throughout The Bahamas by strengthening their resolve to empower women and girls,” Minister Campbell said. “I am thankful to the entire delegation that represented The Bahamas. Additionally I am grateful to our New York Mission staff for their dedication and hard work rendered toward our successful trip. We are thankful for the financial assistance from the private sector, namely Generali Insurance, which afforded five staff members of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs to participate.
“I am also happy to report that not only was The Bahamas at the heart of conversations on best practices, policy, sustainable infrastructure and alliances in terms of representatives, but I can report that The Bahamas held the honour of presenting the CARICOM Statement at the General Assembly. These experiences and exposure provided invaluable technical knowledge to each delegate to the benefit of our country.”