International Women’s Day (UK)

picture taken by the High Commissioner (L to R): Julia Roberts (British High Commission); Dr Sandra Dean-Patterson (Crisis Center); Mrs Ann-Marie Davis (First Lady); Mrs Jennie Hartley (wife of the British High Commissioner); Anastarcia Palacious; Mrs Terry Curry (Red Cross); Kim Aranha (Humane Society); Chef Niki Lightbourne; Dr Nicola Virgill-Rolle (Lyford Cay Foundation); Shelagh Pritchard (Lend a Hand).

To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March, The British High Commissioner hosted leaders from across the voluntary and private sector at the British Residence. As leaders in their fields, they discussed how some of The Bahamas’ largest voluntary organisations are supporting communities, teaching skills, responding to crises, helping vulnerable women, and building The Bahamas for the future.

High Commissioner Thomas Hartley said,

“I was inspired to meet this group of leaders who are demonstrating how women are at the forefront of building a better Bahamas. Focussed particularly in the volunteering sector, it was humbling to hear of the groups’ work to support the most vulnerable in society.

This year the British High Commission is committed to building stronger links between The Bahamas and the UK in the fields of education, industry, and sport, and we discussed how we can use this momentum to support communities in The Bahamas too, such as through apprenticeships in UK companies investing in The Bahamas, more scholarships to British universities, and grants for young people wanting to learning to sail. We will deliver this.”

The celebration was hosted as the British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly launches the UK’s new International Women and Girl’s Strategy. This is the first international Women and Girls Strategy that brings together all the UK’s development and diplomacy work, and commits that at least 80% of FCDO bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) programmes targets gender equality as a policy objective by 2030.

The strategy aims to tackle increasing threats to gender equality from climate change, humanitarian crises, conflicts such as the war in Ukraine, and recent attempts to roll back women’s rights, including in countries like Iran and Afghanistan. The Foreign Secretary also announces a new emphasis on supporting grassroots women’s rights organisations, and funding for a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights programme that will support an estimated 10 million women worldwide.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:

“Advancing gender equality and challenging discrimination is obviously the right thing to do, but it also brings freedom, boosts prosperity and trade, and strengthens security – it is the fundamental building block of all healthy democracies.

Our investment to date has improved lives around the world, with more girls in school, fewer forced into early marriage and more women in top political and leadership roles.

But these hard-won gains are now under increasing threat. We’re ramping up our work to tackle the inequalities which remain, at every opportunity.”

More photo highlights below: