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Twenty-two females help launch ‘Women in Politics’ Course
By Bahamas Information Services (BIS)
Jun 17, 2015 - 8:25:43 PM

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Participants and lecturers of the inaugural Leadership for Women in Politics Course gathered for a historic photograph during the launch of the course at the Bishop Michael Eldon Complex, The College of The Bahamas. Pictured seated (from left) are: Mrs. Lorraine Bastian-Jones, Director, Professional Development and Career Institute/CEES, The College of The Bahamas; Mrs. Barbara Burrows, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Services and Community Development; Minister of Social Services and Community development, the Hon. Melanie Sharon Griffin; Mrs. Beverly Wallace-Whitfield, lecturer and Ms. Christine Campbell, Women's Bureau, Ministry of Social Services and Community Development.

Nassau, The Bahamas -- Twenty-two women from diverse age groups, backgrounds and political views, became the first participants of the inaugural Leadership for Women in Politics course hosted by The College of The Bahamas (COB) in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development.

Hosted by the Centre for Continuing Education and Extension Services (CEES) Division of COB and the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development through the Women’s Bureau, the six weeks course, which runs from June 12 through July 25, 2015, is intended to “enlighten, educate and inspire more Bahamian women to rise to leadership roles in the political arena.”

“While this training will not guarantee the participants success at the polls or the attainment of a Cabinet post, it will most certainly provide them with information to make informed decisions should they decide to take the journey into frontline politics – a journey that can be extremely rewarding yet fraught with challenges,” Minister of Social Services and Community Development, the Hon. Melanie Sharon Griffin said.

“It is our hope that, at best, the information gained from this training will prepare those participants with political aspirations as to what to expect and the particular and unique challenges that women who are in frontline politics face, especially as it relates to juggling the many demands - particularly those involving their families.

“Being in frontline politics requires that you have broad shoulders, inner strength and wisdom to withstand the vicissitudes and fiery darts that will come their way, oftentimes just because they are women. Make no mistake they will come. This training will also help in that area,” Mrs. Griffin added.

Developed by officials from the CEES and the Women’s Bureau, the course has been designed to cover every aspect of frontline politics.

A cross-section of experts has been acquired to serve as lecturers and address issues such as Parliamentary Procedure and Protocol and Etiquette and include notables such as former Madam Justice Rubie Nottage; former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, the Hon. Cynthia “Mother” Pratt; Attorney-General, Minister of Legal Affairs and Government Leader in the Senate, the Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson and former Cabinet Ministers Theresa Moxey-Ingraham and Loretta Butler-Turner.

Other lecturers will include Mrs. Marion Bethel, Ms. Keisha Ellis, Ms. Mellany Zonicle, Dr. Sandra Dean-Patterson, Mr. Eugene Poitier, Mrs. Beverly Wallace-Whitfield, Messrs. Errol Bethel and Maurice Tynes, Senators Robyn Lynes and Heather Hunt and Messrs. Carlton Smith and Wendal Jones.

Issues Affecting Women in Politics; Protocol and Etiquette, Transformational Leadership; Parliamentary Procedures; Leadership Dynamics; The Women’s Suffrage Movement in The Bahamas; an Overview of Specific Laws Relating to Women in The Bahamas; Public Speaking: Communications and the Media; and Balancing Family and Public Life; Strategic Campaign Management, are among the many areas that will be addressed during the six-week course.

Mrs. Griffin said the course is a partial fulfillment of a commitment made in a report to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to take action to increase the number of women in politics

“Such a course is long overdue in The Bahamas,” Mrs. Griffin said. “It is a course women who are in politics, were in politics or want to be in politics, have longed for. It is now available here in The Bahamas.”

Mrs. Griffin urged the “pacesetters” to emulate their predecessors of the Women’s Suffrage Movement and complete the course.

“Let us remember that today we stand on the shoulders of those trailblazers who were women with dogged determination, unwavering presence and a plan that did not include the words ‘give up; let’s quit, or I have had enough,” Mrs. Griffin said.
“It was their mindset, their attitude, their ability to see a task to its planned conclusion that gained women their enfranchisement on November, 26, 1962 – a date all Bahamian women should forever remember,” Mrs. Griffin added.

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