During National Women’s Week (November 20 through 26) the Abaco Department of Social Services along with the newly formed Department of Gender and Family Affairs held a special function at the Government Complex on November 24 under the theme “Promoting Women as Equal Partners with Men in National Development.”
Speaking at the forum was the Director of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs, Ms. Gaynell Curry as well as Ettamae Jones, Senior Welfare Officer in the Department of Social Services and Dr. Lenora Black, District Education Officer for Abaco.
Ms. Jones noted that Ms. Curry challenged Social Services to look at programs and initiatives in Abaco that could bring community awareness to violence against women and what can be done to eliminate the scourge in the country.
“So we put our heads together, formed a committee and looked at having different activities during National Women’s Week that could draw awareness to women as equal partners,” she said. The activities included a church service, a forum and information drive at the entrance of Maxwell’s Supermarket.
Ms. Curry noted that the newly formed department would seek to respond to the needs of women and men and the family unit in conjunction with existing programs and with the Department of Social Services and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) to end gender based violence and to work toward gender equality across the country.
They will also look to advocacy; raising awareness about concerns men, women, boys and girls face and how to identify the gender dimension of socio-economic and social justice concerns in the country.
She said that the Department will also look at policy coordination and support in relation to the government in terms of policies, laws and programs that respond to the needs of women and men and the family as a unit.
“The family is really the heart of our communities so we want to give them the support that they need and help them to be really be the foundation to build this nation as the strong nation that we want it to be,” she said.
Along with addressing concerns about the high levels of violence against women in the country, they also spoke about the Suffrage movement in the Bahamas and the role several local women played in the movement.