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United Nations CEDAW/C/BHS/4 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Distr.: General 1 October 2009 Original: English 09-53532 (E) 140110 *0953532* Committee on the Eliminat ion of Discrimination against Women Consideration of reports s ubmitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Combined initial, second, third and fourth periodic reports of States parties Bahamas* The present report is being issued without formal editing.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 3 09-53532 The Commonwealth of the Bahamas: Combined initial, s econd, third and fourth periodic reports to the Convention on the E limination of All Form s of Discrimination against Women (1993-2006) Islands of the Bahamas
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 4 Contents PageI. Acknowledgements.............................................................12 II. Introduction...................................................................13 III. Reporting process..............................................................13 IV. Reservations to the Convention...................................................14 V. Structure of this State report......................................................14 Section A. General Information on the Commonwealth of the Bahamas..................14 I. Introduction...................................................................14 II. Land and people...............................................................15 Location..................................................................15 Land.....................................................................15 Language.................................................................16 III. Population details of the Bahamas.................................................16 Population statistics........................................................16 Composition of heads of household............................................18 Ethnic composition/Population distribution.....................................19 IV. Socio-economic data on the Bahamas..............................................21 The Bahamian economy.....................................................21 Social indicators...........................................................23 Employment statistics.......................................................23 V. General political structure.......................................................30 Type of Government........................................................30 The Executive.............................................................30 The Governor-general.......................................................30 The Prime Minister.........................................................30 The Cabinet...............................................................31 The Legislature............................................................32 The Judiciary..............................................................32 VI. General legal framework within which womens rights are protected....................33 Existing legislation enforced in the Ba hamas which provide protection for women.....35 Proposed domestic legislation................................................37 International human rights instruments.........................................37
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 5 09-53532 Remedies for violations against equal protections for women in the Bahamas.........39 Constitutional provisions which protect women in the Bahamas....................40 Legal and other remedies for wome n who are victims of discrimination..............40 State machineries dealing with specific legal issues..............................41 Functions of Non-Governmental Organi zations related to the protection of Womens Rights...........................................................41 VII. Information and publicity........................................................43 Media involvement.........................................................44 State reports...............................................................44 International reports........................................................44 International Organization for Migrations Haitian migrants in the Bahamas 2005 report.45 The Bahamas Living Conditions Survey (BLCS) 2001............................45 The United Nations Human Development Reports...............................46 VIII. Factors affecting implementation..................................................48 Section B. Information relating to specific articles of the Convention....................48 Article 1: Defining Discrimination against Women...............................48 Article 2: Obligations to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women.......49 Constitutional reform...................................................49 The Beijing Platform for Action..........................................49 Anti-discriminatory legislation passed since 1993............................50 Mechanisms to enforce anti-discriminatory laws and policies..................51 Special remedies for redress for women to pursue their rights..................51 Institutional mechanisms to protect the rights of women......................51 Efforts to modify customs and practices....................................51 Sanctions for acts of discriminations against women.........................52 Measures to advance the situation of women in the Bahamas..................52 Programmes to modify customs and practices that discriminate against women...52 Practical obstacles to womens full development and enjoyment of their fundamental freedoms..................................................53 Article 3: Measures to ensure the full development and advancement of women.......53 National mechanisms to promote the advancement of women..................54 Non-governmental organizations which promote and protect womens rights.....55 Laws and practices to promote womens political participation.................55
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 6 Measures to ensure womens effective pa rticipation at the highest levels of decision-making.......................................................56 Article 4: Temporary special measures.........................................56 The Bahamian Governments official policy to accelerate the de facto equality of women.............................................................56 Revision of laws: Inheritance............................................56 Temporary measures to achieve equality between women and men..............57 Article 5: The Elimination of gender stereotypes.................................57 Cultural and traditional practices.........................................57 Measures to change social and cultural patterns.............................58 The role of religion.....................................................58 The roles of women and men in Bahamian society...........................58 The role of stereotyping in the media......................................58 Efforts to eliminate gender stereotyping of women and men...................58 Laws and customs of the Bahamas........................................58 Women and mens employment...........................................59 Work forbidden for women..............................................59 Tasks for girls and boys in the home and school environment..................59 Responsibility for the care of children.....................................59 Provisions for family life education.......................................60 Consistency of the Bahamian ed ucational syllabus with CEDAW...............60 Right to chastisement...................................................60 Perceptions of violent behaviour between spouses...........................60 Public education programmes on womens rights............................60 Conflict resolution education for women and men...........................61 Dowry or bride price...................................................61 Promoting awareness of domestic violence among law enforcement officers......61 Domestic violence shelters..............................................61 Law enforcement officers treatmen t of sexually assaulted victims..............61 Special measures to address the sexual abuse of children in the Bahamas........61 Article 6: Suppressing all forms of exploitation of women.........................62 Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act 1991...........................62 Legislation on trafficking in persons.......................................62 The Bahamian Governments position on women selling sexual services.........63
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 7 09-53532 Legal status of prostitution/pornography...................................63 Application of anti-violence laws against women prostitutes...................63 Sanctions to protect pros titutes from exploitation............................63 Prevailing social attitudes towards prostitution..............................63 Violence against women.................................................63 (a) Training..........................................................64 (b) Protection and support services.......................................64 (c) Public education...................................................64 Legislation on Intentional HIV Infection...................................65 Laws on trafficking in women............................................65 Monitoring of immigration and emigration patterns..........................65 Laws for the protection against trafficking in women and girls.................65 Obstacles to eliminate prostitution and trafficking in women...................65 Legislation to penalize individuals involved in trafficking of women and girls....65 Article 7: The participation of women in public and political life...................65 Equal right to vote and participate in elections..............................65 Womens participation in political parties..................................66 Public offices held by women............................................66 Public offices currently held by women....................................67 Factors which prevent womens political participation........................69 Percentage of women pa rticipating in elections..............................69 Womens participation in the design and implementation of development planning at all levels...........................................................70 Womens participation in trade unions.....................................70 Exposure to discrimination associated with political activities in womens organizations..........................................................70 Involvement of womens organizations in policymaking......................70 Article 8: International representation and th e participation of women in international affairs of the Bahamas......................................................71 Representation of women at the international level...........................71 Women in the foreign service............................................72 Percentages of persons employed in international organizations................72 Article 9: Nationality and citizensh ip of women and their children..................73 Legal rights in nationality...............................................73
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 8 Equality in marriage to non-nationals......................................73 Equality in accessing rights of residence...................................73 Equality in the acquisition of passports....................................74 Article 10: Ensuring equal rights for women in education.........................74 Equal access to education...............................................74 Mission statement......................................................74 Philosophy............................................................74 Special educational facilities.............................................75 Programme Success Ultimately Reassure s Everyone an Alternate Education Programme...........................................................75 Literacy rates for males and females.......................................76 The Bahamian Educational system........................................77 Curriculum in the school system..........................................78 Special measures for boys at risk.........................................79 Equality in subject choices in the educational system.........................79 Subject choices in the school system......................................80 Female high school graduates............................................82 College level enrolment and graduates.....................................82 Study grants and scholarships............................................85 Teacher education grant programmes......................................86 Scholarships for women to access advanced education........................87 Women and men in adult education and literacy programmes..................87 Laws and policies to keep girls in school...................................88 Educational programmes for young female school dropouts...................89 Student/Teacher ratios..................................................90 Male/Female ratios at the College of the Bahamas...........................91 Gender equality in access to h ealth and family life education..................93 Girls in sports and physical education.....................................93 Research on the achievement of girls in co-educational schools in comparison to single sex schools......................................................93 Career and vocational guidance...........................................93 Female access to grants.................................................94 Article 11: Ensuring equal rights for women in employment.......................94 Recruitment and employment practices....................................94
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 9 09-53532 Legislation to eliminate discrimination in employment and wages..............94 Percentage of women in the total waged workforce..........................95 Percentage of part-time and full-time workers...............................95 Women in piecework...................................................96 Professions dominated by women or by men................................96 Apprenticeships.......................................................96 Equal pay legislation...................................................96 Work-related benefits...................................................96 Unpaid domestic work..................................................97 Mandatory retirement age...............................................97 Social security legislation...............................................97 Maternity leave and employment security..................................97 Maternity leave provisions...............................................97 Parental leave.........................................................98 Dismissal of women for pregnancy........................................98 Paid leave............................................................98 Provisions for flexible working patterns....................................98 Marital status and job security............................................98 Health and safety laws..................................................98 Restrictions on womens employment.....................................98 Child care facilities.....................................................99 Legal measures regulating the operation of early childhood facilities............99 Percentage of employers providing child care...............................99 After school care.......................................................99 Breastfeeding policy for the workplace....................................99 Women and trade unions................................................99 Sexual harassment measures.............................................100 Article 12: Ensuring equality for women in access to health care...................100 Measures to eliminate discrimina tion against women in health care.............100 Efforts to ensure that women have equal access to health care services..........100 Pre-natal health care....................................................101 Antenatal and postnatal reproductive health services.........................101 Nutrition support for pregnant and lactating women..........................101
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 10 Infrastructure organization and facilities.................................102 Female mortality and morbidity..........................................103 Maternal mortality.....................................................103 Infant and child mortality rates...........................................104 Womens life expectancy................................................105 Crude birth and death rates for men and women.............................105 Average number of live births per woman..................................105 Unmet need for contraceptives...........................................105 Contraceptive prevalence................................................105 Reproductive health services.............................................105 Perinatal services......................................................106 Lactation management programme........................................106 School health services..................................................106 Adolescent health services...............................................106 Rape services.........................................................106 Women workers in the health sector.......................................107 Traditional health workers...............................................107 Compulsory family planning.............................................107 Abortion.............................................................107 Elective sterilization of women and men...................................107 Female genital mutilation................................................108 Dietary restrictions for pregnant women...................................108 HIV and AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)....................108 Family planning and male involvement....................................109 Article 13: Ensuring equality for women in economic and social life in the Bahamas...109 Access to family benefits................................................109 Womens access to credit................................................110 Access to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit............110 Rights to participate in recreationa l activties, sports and cultural life............110 Article 14: Rural women....................................................111 Status of rural women in the Bahamas.....................................111 Rural womens participatio n in development planning........................112 Rural womens access to ade quate healthcare facilities.......................112
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 11 09-53532 Rural womens access to social security benefits.............................112 Rural womens ability to obtain education and training.......................113 Rural womens ability to actively participate in community activities...........113 Rural womens ability to enjoy adequate living conditions.....................113 Article 15: Equality before the Law...........................................113 Equality in treatment...................................................113 Womens administration of property.......................................114 Equality in womens di sposal of property..................................114 Womens access to justice...............................................115 Jury service...........................................................115 Legal aid.............................................................115 Womens freedom of movement..........................................116 Article 16: Ensuring equality for women in marriage and family life................116 Womens right to marriage...............................................116 Non-married co-habitants................................................116 Freedom to choose a spouse.............................................117 Womens rights and respon sibilities during marriage.........................117 Women and polygamy..................................................117 Womens marriage protections...........................................117 Womens right to choose a profession......................................117 Equal rights to property ownership........................................117 Womens equality in divorce.............................................117 Womens protections against domestic violence.............................118 Custody of children....................................................119 Child adoption.........................................................119 Child maintenance.....................................................119 Age of sexual consent...................................................120 Inheritance............................................................121 Summary.................................................................122
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 12 I. Acknowledgements We acknowledge the tremendous support provided by various individuals, institutions and other stakeholders who participated in the resear ch, writing and preparation of this report. Very special thanks to Bahamian stakeholders in government and civil soci ety who provided feedback on the first draft of the report at workshops conducted in November/December 2007 and who also provided additional information and feedback on the revised report. We also acknowledge with sincere thanks the support provided by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Jamaica and its Director, Mr. Harold Robinson a nd also Dr. Leith Dunn of the University of the West Indies Centre fo r Gender and Development Studies (Jamaica).
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 13 09-53532 II. Introduction 1. The Government of the Commonwealth of the Ba hamas appreciates the opportunity to submit its State report which incorporates the initial, second, th ird and fourth periodic reports, in accordance with article 18 of the Convention on the Eliminati on Of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (hereinafter referred to as the Convention), and which also addre sses any substantial progress which has been achieved since its implementation. 2. The Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 1979 after the conclusion of thirty years of work by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, which was established in 19 46 to address the inability of women throughout the international community to achieve pari ty in economic, social, cultural, ci vil and other fields. The Convention came into force on 3rd September 1981 in agreement with article 27(1). 3. The Convention was ratified by the Commonwealth of the Bahamas on the 6th October 1993. Through its ratification of the C onvention, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas affirmed its intention to develop an inclusive social order in the coun try which recognizes the need to improve the legal status of women in all aspects of daily life, and to enable greater participation of women in the development of the Bahamas. III. Reporting process 4. This report represents the initial State repor t submitted by the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and its subsequent State reports (second, third and fourth) which were not submitted as required by article 18 of the Convention. The Government of the Bahamas developed this State report to contextualize its Governments efforts whic h have been employed since its ratification of this Convention. The structure and substance of this report adheres to the gui delines approved by the CEDAW Committee on 5 May 2003 (HRI /GEN/2/Rev.1/Add.2). This repo rt reflects the position in the Bahamas as at 30th June, 2009. 5. The Government of the Bahamas failed to s ubmit its State reports due to the following unforeseen circumstances: A. The Government of the Bahamas encountered si gnificant hardships regard ing its technical and human resource capacity, which impeded its ability to fulfill all of its international obligations. As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) whic h has evolved into a responsible member of the international community, the Government of the Bahamas has had to contend with improving its governance capabilit y domestically and interna tionally while maintaining constant vigilance to substant ial developmental concerns whic h can significantly affect the quality of life of pers ons in the country. B. Although the Government of the Bahamas established a governmental entity responsible for promoting the development of Women in the Bahamas in 1981, it did not evolve into an integral governmental agency until 1995 when th e Government of the Bahamas created the
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 14 Bureau of Womens Affairs (BWA). Since that time, the BWA has become the primary agency responsible for ensuring that wo men in the Bahamas have been empowered to contribute to all aspects of national development. IV. Reservations to the Convention 6. The Convention on the Elimina tion of All Forms of Discrimi nation Against Women (CEDAW) was ratified by the Commonwealth of the Bahamas on the 6th October 1993 with the following reservations: The Government of the Commonwealth of th e Bahamas does not consider itself bound by the provisions of article 2(a), article 9, paragraph 2, article 16(h), [and] article 29, paragraph 1, of the Convention.i 7. In accordance with Article 18, paragraph 1(a) of the CEDAW Convention, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas herby submits its initial, second, third and f ourth periodic reportsii to the Secretary General of the United Nations for consideration by the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (hereinaft er referred to as the Committee). V. Structure of this State Report 8. This State report is divided into two sections. Section one consists of general information that covers the demographic, social economic and political situatio n of the Bahamas. Section two examines each article of the Convention exclusivel y so that the Government of the Bahamas can convey specific information on the measures wh ich are currently employed in the country. The Government of the Bahamas intends to provide clarity for the Committee on achievements and obstacles encountered during its advancem ent of womens rights in the country. Section A. General Information on the Commonwealth of the Bahamas I. Introduction 9. The Government of The Comm onwealth of the Bahamas has reviewed the updated technical requirements of this Conve ntion pertaining to its domestic laws national policies and constitutional requirements and would like to assert that it recognizes that the Bahamas has virtually fulfilled its obligations regarding providing sufficient protections against all forms of disc rimination against women. 10. Protections of fundamental human rights enshri ned in the Bahamas Constitution apply equally to men and women though separate constitutional provision s concerned with the transfer of nationality from parent to children and to the award of nationa lity to foreign born spouses of Bahamian citizens accord privileges to Bahamian men that are not afforded to Bahamian women. Constitutional discrimination notwithstanding, su ccessive Governments have developed and implemented genderneutral policies with regard to access to education, health, and soci al services and to employment. Women are prominently evidenced in all professions in the Bahamas.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 15 09-53532 11. The Government of the Bahamas would like to posit that its domestic legislation regarding the ability of its citizens, both men and women to tran smit their nationality requires substantial changes, as the Constitution of the Bahamas does not explicitly address the fundamental rights for all citizens to transmit their nationality. While gender neutral, legislation strengthening Family and Child Protection laws, enhancing Sexual Of fences and Domestic Violence legislation and removing the law of primogenitor with regard to inheritance, have been seen as especially targeted to promote the equality of women in society. 12. Going forward, the intent of the Government of the Bahamas is to develop sufficient safeguards and protections to enable all individuals in th e country equal rights in all dimensions. The Government of the Bahamas intends to reaffirm its fa ith in equal and fundamental rights for all of its citizens, as Bahamian Governments long ago recognized that its people are its most important asset. II. Land and people Location 13. The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a midocean archipelago. These islands comprise 700 islands and 2,400 cays which extend for almost 760 m iles from the coast of Florida on the northwest almost to Haiti on the south-east. However, only thirty of the islands are considered inhabited. In regards to size, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas is slightly larger than Jamaica, or slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Connecticut. 14. The capital of the Bahamas is Nassau, which is located on the island of New Providence. New Providence is the eleventh largest island in the Baha mian archipelago that developed into the capital due to its protection from the ot her surrounding islands, coral reef s, and shallow banks reducing the risk of destruction caused by hurrica nes and other potential disasters. New Providences historic status as the countrys most developed island served as the primary location of governmental activities; which became and remains the national hub within the Bahamas. Land 15. The Bahamas (area: 5,358 sq. miles/ 13,878 sq. km) is the most northern of the Caribbean chain of islands, located between latitudes 20-27 North and 72-79 West. The islands of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas are mostly flat and consist of coral formations. However, the outermost eastern islands on the Atlantic Ocean are characterized by hilly terrain. The highest point is Mount Alvernia, located on Cat Islan d, rising 206 feet above sea level. 16. The Bahamas has a subtropical maritime climate. Temperatures usually vary between a high of 90 Fahrenheit during summer months and a low of 60 Fahrenheit during winter months. Humidity is relatively high, especially during the summer months. The Bahamas records more than seven hours of sunlight each day in New Providence and daylight varies from 10 hours and 35 minutes in late December to 13 hours and 41 minutes in late June. Rain showers occur throughout the year, however the rainy season is between the months of May through October. The northern isla nds experience an
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 16 average of 20 per cent more rainfall than the southern islands. Fortunately for the Bahamas, rainfall is mainly in the form of heavy showers which dissipate quickly. Language 17. The official language of the Commonwealth of th e Bahamas is English. There is also a Bahamian dialect of English that is spoke n by most Bahamians. Although Eng lish is the primary language, other languages are spoken in the Bahamas. Among the Ha itian community, the Chinese community and the Spanish-speaking community, local languages are widely spoken so that they preserve ties to their respective countries and cultures. Languages such as Spanish, French, German and Chinese are also taught in schools at the tertiary le vels to prepare students for inter action with the global economy and the international community. III. Population details of the Bahamas Population Statistics 18. The population of the Commonwea lth of the Bahamas, which wa s 303,611 at the time of the 2000 Census, is now estimated to be 338,300: 164,800 males and 173,500 females for 2008. The Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahama s expects that by 2010 the population would have increased to 346,900 an increase of approximately 2.5 per cent from 2000. By 2030 the population is expected to have increased by 22.8 pe r cent over the 2000 censu s to 426,300 persons. 19. The population of the Commonwealth of the Bahama s is still a relatively young one with slightly more than one quarter (25.99 per cent) under the age of 15. This figure represents a decline under the 2000 proportion of 29.38 per cen t. Persons 65 years of age and over increase d their share of the population from 5.24 per cent in 2000 to 5.82 per cent in 2008. Table 1 All Bahamas Projected Mid-Year Population by Age and Sex 000 2000 2005 2008 AGE GROUP TOTAL MALE FEMALE TOTAL MALE FEMALE TOTAL MALE FEMALE ALL AGES 303.60 147.60 156.00 325.20 158.00 167.20 338.30 164.80 173.50 0-4 29.10 14.60 14.50 28.60 14.60 14.00 29.00 15.00 14.00 5-9 31.60 16.00 15.60 29.30 14.70 14.60 28.20 14.30 13.90
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 17 09-53532 10-14 28.50 14.10 14.40 31.40 15.80 15.60 30.70 15.40 15.30 15-19 26.40 13.30 13.10 28.30 13.90 14.40 30.30 15.00 15.30 20-24 25.00 12.30 12.70 26.00 13.00 13.00 26.90 13.20 13.70 25-29 27.10 13.20 13.90 25.00 12.20 12.80 25.30 12.50 12.80 30-34 26.30 12.70 13.60 27.60 13.30 14.30 26.40 12.80 13.60 35-39 26.10 12.60 13.50 26.80 12.80 14.00 27.90 13.40 14.50 40-44 21.20 10.10 11.10 26.20 12.60 13.60 26.70 12.80 13.90 45-49 16.00 7.70 8.30 21.10 10.00 11.10 24.50 11.80 12.70 50-54 12.10 5.80 6.30 15.80 7.60 8.20 18.80 9.00 9.80 55-59 10.20 4.80 5.40 11.60 5.50 6.10 13.60 6.50 7.10 60-64 8.10 3.80 4.30 9.50 4.40 5.10 10.30 4.80 5.50 65-69 5.90 2.70 3.20 7.20 3.30 3.90 8.10 3.70 4.40 70-74 4.10 1.70 2.40 5.00 2.20 2.80 5.60 2.50 3.10 75-79 2.60 1.00 1.60 3.10 1.20 1.90 3.40 1.40 2.00 80+ 3.30 1.20 2.10 2.70 .90 1.80 2.60 0.70 1.90 Median Age 27 26 28 29 28 30 30 29 31 Percent 0-4 9.58 9.89 9.29 8.79 9.24 8.37 8.57 9.10 8.07 5-14 19.80 20.39 19.23 18.67 19.30 18.06 17.42 18.02 16.83 15-49 55.37 55.49 55.26 55.66 55.57 55.74 55.57 55.52 55.62 15-64 65.38 65.24 65.51 67.00 66.65 67.34 68.19 67.84 68.53 65 and Over 5.24 4.47 5.96 5.54 4.81 6.23 5.82 5.04 6.57 Source: Department of Statistics
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 18 Composition of heads of household 20. The 2000 Census revealed th at there were 88,107 households throughout the Bahamas, and it was estimated that in 2007 ther e were 106,460 households an in crease of appr oximately 21 per cent. Throughout the Commonwealth of th e Bahamas 62,240 households indicated that a male was considered the head of their household, which repr esented approximate ly 60 per cent of the total number of households. Conversely, 41,215 households responde d that a female was considered the head of their household, which represented a pproximately 40 per cent of the total number of househol ds. New Providence recorded 71,600 total households, of which 58.47 per cent were headed by males and 41.5 per cent of households were headed by females. Statistics further revealed that the number of households headed by women is growing at a faster pace than those headed by men. 21. Table 2* in the annex of this St ate report highlights the di stribution of households by income group and the sex of the he ad of the househol d, and table 3* exhibits pertinent information regarding household income. Table 4 Households and Household Income: Al l Bahamas, New Providence and Grand Bahama: 2007 Number of Total Household Mean Household Median Household Island Households Income B$ Income B$ Income B$ All Bahamas 103,455 4,678,325,000 45,221 36,000 New Providence 71,600 3,429,412,500 47,897 40,000 Grand Bahama 15,975 651,837,500 40,804 32,400 Source: Department of Statistics Annex to the present report is availa ble in the files of the Secretariat.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 19 09-53532 Ethnic composition/Po pulation distribution 22. The Bahamian society exhibits similar char acteristics as other A nglo-Caribbean countries, which all share similar hi storical experiences. Like many ot her countries within the Caribbean, Bahamian society was in itially made up of tw o main racial groupings blacks and whites. Historically, the racial pyramid indicated that blacks occupied the broad base, the coloured/mixed people, the middle and the white s the apex. The distin ct ethnic minorities which can still be found through out the Bahamian society have roots which have existed from the early 19th Century, and have been assimilated into the Bahami an society for almost one hundred years. Bahamian society is defined by a remarkable array of people from different regions of the world, which ha ve come together to develop Bahamian society and Bahamian culture from the early 1800s until the late 1950s. Bahamian society can be divided into six distinct racial groups that have assimilated to deve lop the Bahamas. Thes e racial/ethnic groups are Whites, Blacks, Greeks, Chinese, and Lebanese. 23. As a small State which has developed into a responsible member of the international community, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas has never been able to a dvocate to any aspects of ethnocentrism. The Bahama s was developed by various ethnic and racial groups, and Bahamian society was cultivated through the assi milation of various groups such as the English Loyalists, enslaved Africans, freed slaves, Amer icans, and entrepreneurs of Greek, Chinese, and Lebanese extraction. 24. All groups that migrated or came to the Bahamas were assim ilated into Bahamian society, and have infused aspects of th eir respective cultures into Ba hamian society to develop a uniquely Bahamian society which embraces all persons. For a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), the Bahamas has a wea lth of social diversity whic h has enabled the Bahamas to attempt to establish itself as one of the most open societ ies in its region. 25. Table 5 in the Anne x of this State report illustrates the population growth of the Bahamian islands between the Censuses of 1970 and 2000. Elev en islands experien ced a decline in population during the period, two islands experienced increases in its population, while one island exhibited the same population for the census y ears 1970 and 2000. The Bahamas has concentrated population patterns, i.e. the population is widely an d unevenly dispersed throughout the Bahamian archipelago. Because the Bahamian islands are not contiguous, the uneven distribution appears grea ter as the people are disper sed among numerous islands and cays. 26. The largest island of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Andros accounts for almost 43 per cent of the land ar ea of the Bahamian archipelago and only represented 2.5 per cent of the population in 2000. In contrast New Providence, the capital of the Baha mas, accounts for a mere 1.5 per cent of th e land area but accommodated over 69 per cent of th e people in 2000. The two major islands of Ne w Providence and Grand Bahama represented approximately 85 per cent of the country s total population.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 20 Table 6 Land Area and Density of P opulation by Island, 2000 Census AREA POPULATION AREA POPULATION ISLAND POPULATION SQ. MILES PER SQ. MILE SQ. KM PER SQ KM ALL BAHAMAS 303611 5382 56 13943 22 NEW PROVIDENCE 210832 80 2635 207 1018 GRAND BAHAMA 46994 530 89 1373 34 ABACO 13170 649 20 1681 8 ACKLINS 428 192 2 497 1 ANDROS 7686 2300 3 5959 1 BERRY ISLANDS 709 12 59 31 23 BIMINIS 1717 9 191 23 74 CAT ISLAND 1647 150 11 389 4 CROOKED ISLAND 350 93 4 241 1 ELEUTHERA 7999 187 43 484 17 EXUMA AND CAYS 3571 112 32 290 12 HARBOUR ISLAND AND SPANISH WELLS SPANISH WELLS 3166 13 244 34 94 INAGUA 969 599 2 1552 1 LONG ISLAND 2992 230 13 596 5 MAYAGUANA 259 110 2 285 1 RAGGED ISLAND 72 14 5 36 2 SAN SALVADOR & RUM CAY 1050 93 11 241 4 Source: Department of Statistics
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 21 09-53532 27. New Providence has a population density of 2,635 pe rsons per square m ile, therefore, the entire island can be considered as an urban centre. Freeport, Grand Bahama is the only other urban area within the Bahamas and has a population density of 89 persons per square mile. These two urban areas account fo r 11.3 per cent of the Bahami an land mass and account for over 85 per cent of the population. The countrys popul ation, therefore, can be considered as 85 per cent urban and 15 per cent rural. 28. The Government of the Baha mas has no recent records of th e distribution of population by race or ethnic group, as such da ta has not been coll ected on any of the major administrative forms nor were they collected in the decennial censu s of population and hous ing or the periodic surveys undertaken. 29. As previously noted, Blacks comprise the majority of the Bahamas ethnic make-up. This includes native-born Bahamians a nd other nationals of black-Afri can origin such as those from the African continent, the Caribbean, and, especi ally, those persons from Haiti, whose nationals constitute the largest minority (documente d and undocumented) ethnic group in the archipelago, accounting for slightly over 7 per cent of the population. 30. The Department of Statistics provided data that highlights the c ountries of origin for persons throughout the Bahamas. Although this does not indicate ra cial/ethnic characteristics, it does help to understand the di versity found throughout the population of the Bahamas. Table 7 in the Annex of this Stat e report provides information on the population by citizenship. According to the results of the 2000 Department of Statistics Census report, Bahamians (this incorporates all ethnicities) accoun ted for just over 87 pe r cent of the inhabita nts, with Haitians (7%), as mentioned above, a ccounting for the second larges t group represented. North Americans accounted for 1.9 per cent and citizens from all other Caribbean countries represented just over 1.7 per cent of the population. IV. Socio-economic data on the Bahamas The Bahamian economy 31. Although the Commonwealth of the Bahama s has been characteri zed as a SIDS, The Government of the Bahamas has worked assiduously to ensure that all persons throughout the Bahamas are empowered to achie ve high levels of human de velopment. Bahamians have become accustomed to a high qual ity of life due to the salient characteristics of the Bahamas. In 2008, the Bahamas recorded a per capita inco me of US$18,660 ranking it as one of the top three countries with the highest per capita in come in the western he misphere. In 2008, the Bahamas economy was estimated to be valued over US$6 billion and growing. 32. Between the years 200 0 to 2006 the Bahamian economy experienced gr owth in its GDP at current market prices. Estimates for the annual rate of GDP growth are outlined in table 8 below.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 22 Table 8 Annual Rate of GDP Growth 2002-2007 Year Growth of GDP (%) 2001 2.55 2002 5 2003 2.28 2004 2.49 2005 5.96 2006 4.2 Source: Department of Statistics 33. The Bahamian economy is dominated by se rvices, of which tour ism accounts for twothirds of all economic activity followed by financial services, along with comparatively small inputs from the agricultural and industrial sectors. 34. The geographic features of the Bahamian archipelago are natural magnets for the Bahamian tourism industry. The Ba hamas is said to ha ve some of the clea rest waters in the world. Its beaches and the mari ne environment have attracted visitors to the Bahamas even prior to the development of t ourism as a major industry within the Bahamian economy. Tourism has become essential to the Ba hamian economy over the past fi fty years. In 1950, the Bahamas recorded 40,000 visitors and this number had swelled to 4.6 million in 2007. Over the years, the Bahamian tourism industry has grown in leaps and bounds accounting today for just over 40 per cent of the Bahamian GDP. Both tourism a nd financial services are characterized by the provision of high quality service to all persons re gardless of racial, ethni c, cultural, gender and religious differences. Therefore, as large sect ions of the Bahamian population are involved in these industries, they have become accustomed to interacting with a diverse group of persons from throughout the inte rnational community. 35. For many years, people throughout the in ternational community have recognized the Bahamas as synonymous with t ourism. In fact, the Bahamas reputation as a highly rated tourism destination is well documented throughout internati onal surveys. In 2003, the Bahamian Tourism industry tota l economic contribution was esti mated at $2.8 billion, which represented 51 per cent of the Bahamian GDP. In terms of employment in th e Bahamas, the tourism industry employs 97,383 people or 63 per cent of all jobs throughout the Bahamas. Accordingly, tourism generated a pproximately $1.6 billion in local wages or 61 per cent of all wages in the Bahamas. In fact as the Bahamas is a small c ountry, industries not directly involved in tourism benefit substantially on an indirect basis. The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation reports on tour isms effect on the Baha mian economy indicated th at nearly 25 per cent of business services sales, or $343 million, is generated by tour ism activity; and nearly 21 per cent of construction sales, or $84 million was generated by tourism activity in 2007.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 23 09-53532 Social indicators 36. The following social indicators for the Ba hamas in table 9 belo w highlight important socio-economic improvements in the developmen t of Bahamian society over the past twentyfive years. Table 9 Social Indicators of Development The Bahamas LAC 15 20 years ago 2004 2004 UNDP Human Development Index n.a. 0.844 0.839 Crude Birth Rate (per. 1,000) 24.5 18 23 Crude Death Rate (per. 1,000) 6 5.3 7 Infant Mortality (per. 1,000) 31.1 15.8 30 Life Expectancy at Birth (years) 68.1 73.9 70 Physicians per. 1,000 population 0.9 2.3 1.6 Gross Enrolment Ration: Primary school 98.5 97 113 Illiteracy Rate (% of population over 15 years) 6.6 4.2 13 Women: % of total labour force 43.4 47.8 34.6 Per capita GDP (US$) 8,820 16,592 3,600 Source: Inter-American Development Bank, IDB Country Strategy with the Commonwealth of the Bahamas (2003-2007) p. 10 Employment statistics Table 10 Main Labour Force Indicators 1996-2000 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 Labour Force 146,635149,915156,470157,640 164,675 Employed Labour Force 129,765135,255144,355145,350 153,310
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 24 Unemployed Labour Force 16,870 14,660 12,115 12,290 11,365 Unemployment Rate 11.5 9.8 7.8 7.8 6.9 Female Unemployment Rate 14.7 11.3 9.6 9.7 7.1 Male Unemployment Rate 8.6 8.3 5.9 6 6.8 Participation Rate 73.7 74.9 77.3 76.8 76.2 Female Participation Rate 68.2 70.5 73 70.9 71.1 Male Participation Rate 79.8 79.4 82.4 83.1 81.7 Source: Department of Statistics 37. The unemployment rate for the Bahamas in 2007 increased by 0.3 per cent from 2006 to 7.9 per cent; the unemployment ra te was 6.7 per cent for men and 9.1 per cent for women, which indicated a 1.6 per cent an d a 1.1 per cent increase resp ectively over the previous year. The Labour Force Participation Rate for the Bahamas was 76.2 per cent for 2007, which was an increase of 1.1 per cent over the previous year. 38. In 2007, the Employed Labour Force of the Bahamas revealed that 68 per cent of workers were engaged in private sector activities, 19 per cent were employ ed in the civil service, and the remaining 13 per cent of wo rkers were self-employed.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 25Table 11Key Labour Force Stat istics 1997-1999, 2001-2007 ITEM 1997199819992001200220032004200520062007 Total Labour Force All Bahamas 149,915156,470157,640164,675167,980173,795176,330178,705180,255186,105 New Providence 104,315111,370 113,240117,900119,700123,380123,380128,630127,090131,105 Grand Bahama 22495 22,200 23,900 25,055 25,190 26,350 26,465 27,305 27,445 28,850 Employed Labour Force All Bahamas 135,255144,355145,350153,310152,690154,965158,340160,530166,505171,490 New Providence 93,465 103,270104,440109,770108,225108,685111,725 114,660118,575120,675 Grand Bahama 20,535 20,090 21,625 23,345 23,580 24,050 24,000 24,305 25,155 26,310 Unemployed Labour Force All Bahamas 14,660 12,115 12,290 11,365 15,290 18,830 17,990 18,175 13,750 14,615 New Providence 10,850 8,100 8,800 8,130 11,445 14,695 13,660 13,970 8,515 10,430 Grand Bahama 1,960 2,100 2,275 1,710 1,610 2,300 2,465 3,000 2,290 2,540
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 26 09-53532Labour Force Participation Rate All Bahamas 74.9% 77.3% 76.8% 76.2% 76.4% 76.5% 75.7% 76.3% 75.1% 76.2% New Providence 75.5% 78.3% 77.7% 78.1% 77.6% 78% 77.5% 77.5% 79.7% 77.1% Grand Bahama 74.9% 73% 75.3% 75.2% 74.4% 76% 74.7% 74.7% 74.6% 76.8% Unemployment Rate All Bahamas 9.8% 7.8% 7.8% 6.9% 9.1% 10.8% 10.2% 10.2% 7.6% 7.9% New Providence 10.4% 7.3% 7.8% 6.9% 9.6% 11.9% 10.9% 10.9% 6.7% 8% Grand Bahama 8.7% 9.6% 9.5% 6.8% 6.4% 8.7% 9.3% 11% 8.3% 8.8% Source: Department of Statistics
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 27 09-53532 39. In 2007, the Employed Labour Force of the Bahamas revealed that 68 per cent of workers were engaged in private sector activities, 19 per cent were employ ed in the civil service, and the remaining 13 per cent of wo rkers were self-employed. Table 12 Employed Persons By Sex and Employment Status: 2007 Total Women Men Employment Status N % N % N % Employee (Gov. or Govt. Corp 31,895 19 19,320 24 12,575 14 Employee (Private Business) 116,735 68 56,470 69 60,265 67 Self-Employed 22,330 13 5,780 7 16,550 18 Unpaid Family Worker 315 "neg" 225 "neg" 90 "neg" Not Stated 215 0 90 0 125 0 Total 171,490 100 81,885 100 89,605 100 Source: Department of Statistics 40. Tables 13 and 14 below from the Department of Statistics shows that men dominated most industrial groups while women domin ated in wholesale, hotels and related fields, finance and community, social services indus tries, Men dominate d in agriculture, mi ning, manufacturing, construction and transportation.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 28 Table 13 Employed Persons By Sex and In dustrial Group: All Bahamas 2007 Total Women Men Industrial Group N % N % N % Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing 3,940 2 200 0 3,740 4 Mining, Quarrying, Electricity, Gas & Water 2,965 2 635 0 2,330 3 Manufacturing 6,420 4 2,370 3 4,050 5 Construction 21,340 12 1,415 2 19,925 22 Wholesale & Retail 24,885 15 12,050 15 12,835 14 Hotels & Restaurants 27,410 16 15,880 19 11,530 13 Transport, Storage & 13,275 8 3,960 5 9,315 10 Communication Financing, Insurance, Real Estate & 20,175 12 12,210 15 7,965 9 Other Business Services Community, Social & Personal Services 50,690 30 33,020 40 17,670 20 Not Stated 390 "neg" 145 0 245 "neg" Total 171,490 100 81885 100 89,605 100 Source: Department of Statistics
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 29 09-53532 Table 14 Employed Persons By Sex and Occupational Group: All Bahamas 2007 Total Women Men Occupational Group N % N % N % Legislators & Senior Officials 16,685 10 7,215 9 9,470 11 Professionals, Technicians & Associate 33,200 19 21,02026 12,180 14 Professionals Clerks 21,490 13 18,00522 3,485 4 Service Workers & Shop Market Sales 33,265 19 18,86023 14,405 16 Workers Skilled Agricultural and Fishery Workers 3,475 2 60 "neg" 3,415 4 Craft and Related Workers. Plant and 34,390 20 3,410 4 30,980 35 Machine Operators and Assemblers Elementary Occupations 28,110 16 12,90516 15,205 17 Not Stated 875 1 410 1 465 1 Total 171,49010081885 100 89,605 100 Source: Department of Statistics
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 30 41. The Government of the Ba hamas has become the country s largest employer (there are currently 20,000 civil servants in the Bahamas and 11,895 pe rsons employed with government corporations), which enhances social policies designed by the Government to improve equality for all persons throughout the country. As the countrys larg est employer, the Government of the Bahamas ensures that all persons throughout the Bahamas are able to obtain employment with the government regardless of racial/ethnic, gender, religious or other perceived differences. V. General political structure Type of Government 42. The Governor-General is the Queens representative in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. As a former British Colony, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas de cided that it would retain the English monarc h as its Head of State. The Executive 43. The Executive branch consists of a Cabinet of at least nine memb ers, including the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General. All Ministers are required to be Members of Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance must be members of the House of Assembly and up to three Ministers can be appoi nted from among the Senators. The Governor-general 44. The Governor-General, who is appointed and serves at Her Majestys pleasure, signs bills into law after they are passed by the House of Assembly and the Senate opens Parliament, and gives the annual Speech from the Throne, as prep ared by the Prime Minister. Like the Queen, the Governor-General never pr esents any personal views or opinions. The Governor-General plays an instrumental role in ensuring that the continuity of the governments organizational structure permits the Government of th e Bahamas to function efficiently. The Prime Minister 45. The Prime Minister is res ponsible for the daily governance of the Bahamas, and is the highest government official in the Cabi net and within the Bahamian governments organizational structure. The Pr ime Minister is appointed by th e Governor-General after the results from a general el ection have been determined. As th e Bahamas is a de mocracy, the party who wins the highest number of electoral votes is em powered to esta blish the new administration. However in the ev ent that neither political party commands a clear majority, the Constitution clearly indicates th e procedure which must be foll owed. The Constitution of the Bahamas states that the Gover nor-General appoints the member of the House of Assembly who is the leader of the party wh ich commands the support of the ma jority of members of that House. In the event that neither political part y has an undisputed leader, or no party commands
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 31 09-53532 the support of the majori ty in the House of Assembly, the Governor-General must appoint the person in his judgment who is most likely to command the support of the majority of the members in that House. The Cabinet 46. The Cabinet of the Commonwea lth of the Bahamas represents the Executive Branch of the Government, and comprises repres entatives of the Bahamian G overnment who are responsible for developing and implementing governmental policy. The Cabinet consists of the Prime Minister and not less than eight other Ministers. The ta ble below details the present composition of the Cabinet of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas: Table 15 -The Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas-Cabinet Members 2008 Portfolio Name Prime Minister and Minister of Finance The Rt. Hon. Hubert Alexander Ingraham Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs The Hon. T. Brent Symonette Minister of National Security The Hon. O.A. T. (Tommy) Turnquest Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Senator the Hon. Michael L. Barnett Minister of Education The Hon. Carl W. Bethel Minister of Housing The Hon. A. Kenneth Russell Minister of the Environment The Hon. Earl D. Deveaux Minister of Public Works and Transport The Hon. Neko C. Grant Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources The Hon. Lawrence S. Cartwright Minister of Health The Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis Minister of State in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture The Hon. T. Desmond Bannister Minister of Labour and Social Development Senator the Hon. Dion A. Foulkes
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 32 Minister of Tourism and Aviation Senator the Hon. Vincent VanderpoolWallace Minister of State for Finance and Public Service The Hon. Zhivargo S. Laing Minister of State for Lands and Local Government The Hon. Byran S. Woodside Minister of State for Immigration The Hon. W.A. Branville McCartney Minister of State for Culture The Hon. Charles T. Maynard Minister for State in the Ministry of the Environment The Hon. Phenton O. Neymour Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Development The Hon. Loretta R. Turner The Legislature 47. The bicameral, or two-house, legislative branch consists of the Sena te and the lower House of Assembly. They are physical ly located in Parliament S quare in downtown Nassau. 48. The House of Assembly whic h was established in 1729 makes the laws of the Bahamas. It must consist of at least thirty-eight elected re presentatives of the peopl e. There are currently forty-one members in Parliame nt who serve five-year terms, unless the Prime Minister dissolves the House before that time. This number may be in creased on the recommendation of the Constituencies Commission, which is charged with reviewin g electoral boundaries at least every five years. 49. The Senate has sixteen member s, nine appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister, four member s on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition and three members on the advice of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. This arrangement provi des for the political ba lance in the Senate to be reflective of the House of Assembly. The Judiciary 50. English Common law forms th e foundation of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas judicial system, even though ther e is a large volume of Bahamian statute law. The Bahamian judicial system comprises the following Courts of Justice: 51. Her Majestys Privy Council : The highest tribunal in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas is the Judicial Committee of th e Privy Council in London, England, which occupies the apex of
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 33 09-53532 the Bahamian Judicial system. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council serves as the ultimate Court of Appeal in all matt ers where an appeal is permitted. 52. The Court of Appeal : Is the second highest court in th e Bahamas. The Court of Appeal consists of a President, the Chie f Justice who, as head of the judiciary is an ex officio member of the Court and sits at the invitation of the President, and not less than two and not more than four Justices of Appeal. To qua lify as a Justice of Appeal one must either hold or have previously held a judici al office. The Court has jurisdiction to hear and dete rmine appeals from judgments, orders and sentences made by the S upreme Court. The Court of Appeal also has jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals from matters in a magisterial court in respect of indictable offences triable summarily on the grounds that (i) the court had no jurisdiction or exc eeded its jurisdiction in the matter; (ii) the decision was unre asonable, could not be supported by the evidence or was erroneous in point of law; (iii) the decision of th e magistrate or the sentence passed was based on a wrong principle; (iv) some material illegality occurred affecting the merits of the case; or (v) the sentence was too severe or lenient. 53. The Supreme Court : The Supreme Court consists of a Chief Justice and not more than eleven and not less than two Justices of the Court. The Chief Justice is appointed by The Governor-General on the recomm endation of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. Justices of the Supreme Court are appoi nted by The GovernorGeneral on the advice of the Judici al and Legal Service Commission. 54. Magistrates Court : These are summary courts. There are seventeen (17) Magistrates Courts in the Bahamas: fourteen (14) in New Providence; two (2) in Freeport, Grand Bahama; and one (1) in Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama. 55. With reference to the other Bahamian islands, appointed admi nistrators exercise jurisdiction in minor criminal matters of a less serious nature and civil matters involving amounts not exceeding B$400. There are also Justices of the Peace (lay magistrates) that are appointed to hear minor offe nces in New Providence. VI. General legal framework within which womens rights are protected 56. The Constitution of the Bahamas provides significant protections for women against virtually all forms of discrimination, and also provides a favorable environment for women to enjoy equal rights and full empow erment in the country. The Ba hamian Constitution provides
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 34 for equal protection for all persons throughout the Commonw ealth of the Bahamas and maintains a thoroughly balanced governmental st ructure to administer these protections. 57. The Commonwealth of the Bahamas Indepe ndence Order of 1973 esta blishes that, The Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Baha mas is the supreme la w of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and, subject to the provisions of this Consti tution, if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution, the Constituti on, shall prevail and the other law shall, to the extent of the incons istency, be void. 58. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas speaks to matters relating to fundamental human rights throughout the Commonw ealth of the Bahamas in Chapter III of the Constitution (articles 15-27). The Constitution addresses the follo wing areas of human rights: (1) Fundamental rights and free doms of the individual, (2) Pr otection to right of life, (3) Protection from inhumane treatment, (4) Protection from slavery and forced labour, (5) Protection from arbitrary arrest or detention, (6) Provisions to secure protection of law, (7) Protection for privacy home a nd other property, (8) Protection of freedom of conscience, (9) Protection of freedom of expression, ( 10) Protection of free dom of assembly and association, (11) Protection of freedom of movement, (12) Pr otection from discrimination on the grounds of race, etc., (13) Pr otection from deprivation of prope rty; and (14) Enforcement of fundamental rights. 59. Recognition of the entitlement to human righ ts and fundamental free doms is contained in article 15 of the Constitution which provides that Whereas every person in the Bahamas is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, has the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opini ons, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, to each and all of the following, namely a) life, liberty, security of the pe rson and the protecti on of the law; b) freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association; and c) protection for the privacy of his home and other property a nd from deprivation of property without compensation, the subsequent provisions of th is Chapter shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to the aforesaid rights and freedoms subject to such limit ations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitati ons designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any individual does not prejudi ce the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest 60. The Constitution of the Co mmonwealth of the Bahamas afford s all persons a constitutional right to apply to the Supreme Co urt of the Bahamas in the even t that their hum an rights have been violated. Article 28 of the Constitution states that, any person a lleges that any of the
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 35 09-53532 provisions of Articles 16 to 27 (inc lusive) of this Constitution has been, is being of is likely to be contravened in relatio n to him then, without pr ejudice to any other actio n with respect to the same matter which is lawfully available, that person may apply to the Supreme Court for redress. 61. Article 28 (2) of the Constitution of the Comm onwealth of the Bahamas establishes that in the event of any human rights violations, the Supreme Court of the Bahamas has original jurisdiction to (a) hear and determine any application made by any person in pursuance of paragraph (1) of article 28; and (b) to determine any question aris ing in the case of any person which is referred to it in pursuan ce of paragraph (3) of article 28. 62. For any issues pertaining to human rights infringements thr oughout the legal system of the Bahamas, article 28 (3) of the Constitution has es tablished that, If, in any proceedings in any court established fo r the Bahamas other than the Supreme Court or th e Court of Appeal, any question arises as to the contra vention of any of the provisions of the said Articles 16 to 27 (inclusive), the court in which th e question to the Supreme Court. Existing legislation enforced in the Ba hamas which provide protection for women 63. Domestic : The Parliament of the Bahamas from time to time enacts legi slation to enhance the social and economic wellbeing of the people and to strengthen respect for the dignity of the individual. Examples of such legislation enact ed include: (1) Acquisition of Land Act, Ch. 252, (2) Administration of Estates Act, Ch 108, (3) Adoption of Children Act, Ch. 131, (4) Affiliation Proceedings Act, Ch 133, (5) Bail Act, Ch. 103, (6) Capital Punishment (procedure) Act, Ch. 94, (7) Children and Young Persons (Administration of Justice) Act, Ch. 97, (8) Co mputer Misuse Act, Ch. 107A, (9) Copyright Act, Ch. 323, (10) Court of Appeal Act, Ch. 52, (11) Criminal Justice (Inte rnational Co-operation) Act, Ch. 105, (12) Criminal Law (Meas ures) Act, Ch. 101, (13) Crim inal Procedure Code, Ch. 91, (14) Education Act, Ch. 46, (15) Emergency Powers Act, Ch. 34, (16) Emergency Relief Guarantee Fund Act, Ch. 35, ( 17) Employment Act, Ch. 321A, ( 18) Evidence Act, Ch. 65, (19) Execution of Documents (Ha ndicapped Persons) Act, Ch. 67, ( 20) Extradition Act, Ch. 96, (21) Geneva Conventions (Supplementary) Ac t, Ch. 95, (22) Genocide Act, Ch.85, (23) Guardianship and Custody of Infants Act, Ch.132, (24) Ha beas Corpus Act, Ch. 63, (25) Health and Safety at Work Act, Ch. 321C, (26) Immigration Act, Ch. 191, (27) Industrial Property Act, Ch. 324, (28) Industrial Relations Act, Ch. 321, (29) Inheritance Act, Ch. 116, (30) International Child Abduction Act, Ch. 137, (31) Ionizing Radiation (Workers Protection) Act, Ch. 319, (32) Juries Act, Ch. 59, (33) Listening Device s Act, Ch. 90, (34) Magistrates Act, Ch. 54, (35) Maintenance of Emigrants Children Act, Ch. 128, (36) Mainte nance Orders (Facilities for Enforcement) Ac t, Ch.127, (37) Parliamentar y Elections Act, Ch. 7, (38) Preliminary Inquiries (Special Procedure) Act, Ch. 92, (39) Proceeds of Crime Act, Ch. 93, (40) Riots (Claims Tribunal) Act, Ch. 185, (41) Status of Children Act, Ch. 130, (42) Supreme Court Act, Ch. 53, (43) Transfer of Offenders Act, Ch. 102; and (44) Wills Act, Ch. 115, Sexual Offences Act and the Domestic Vi olence (Protection Orders) Act.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 36 64. International : The Bahamas is a State party to the following In ternational Humanitarian Law and Other Related Treaties: (1) Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field (2) Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea, (3) Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Pr isoners of War, (4) Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civili an Persons in Time of War, (5) Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, (6) Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts, (7) Convention on the Rights of the Ch ild, (8) Convention of the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bact eriological (Biological) and Toxic Weapons and on their Destruction, (9) The Ottawa Trea ty, (10) Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matter s, (11) United Nations Conve ntion Against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols Thereto (The Protocol to prevent, Supp ress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, th e Protocol Against The Smuggling of Migrants by La nd, Sea and Air; and the Protocol Against the Illi cit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Thei r Parts and Component s and Ammunition), (12) Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, (13) ILO Convention 5, Minimum Wa ge, (14) ILO Convention 7, Minimum Age (Sea), (15) ILO Convention 11, Right of Association (Agriculture), (16) ILO Convention 12, Workmens Compensation (Agricultu re), (17) ILO Convention 14, Weekly Rest (Industry), (18) ILO Convention 17, Workme ns Compensation (Accidents), (19) ILO Convention 19, Equality of Treatment (Accident compen sation), (20) ILO Convention 22, Seamens Articles of Agreemen t, (21) ILO Convention 26, Mi nimum Wage-Fixing Machinery, (22) ILO Convention 29, Workmens Compen sation (Occupational Di seases), (23) ILO Convention 50, Recruiting of In digenous Workers, (24) ILO Convention 64, Contracts of Employment (Indigenous Workers), (25) ILO Convention 65, Penal Sanctions (Indigenous Workers), (26) ILO Convention 81, Labour Insp ection, (27) ILO Conve ntion 88, Employment Services, (28) ILO Convention 94, Labour Clau ses (Public Contracts), (29) ILO Convention 95, Protection of Wages, (30) ILO Conventi on 97, Migration for Employment, (31) ILO Convention 105, Abolition of Forced Labour, (32) ILO C onvention 111, Discrimination (Employment and Occupation, (3 3) ILO Convention 117, Social Policy, (34) ILO Convention 144, Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standard ), (35) ILO Convention 147, Merchant Shipping (Minimum Standards), ( 36) ILO Convention 185, Seafarers Identity Documents (Revised); and (37) ILO Maritime Labour Convention. 65. The Bahamas has become a signatory of the following International Humanitarian Law (IHL) instruments: (1) Conve ntion on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destructi on, Opened for Signature at Paris on 13th Ja nuary 1993 (not yet ratifi ed) and (2) InterAmer ican Convention Against Terrorism (2002). 66. Additional International Obligations : The Government of th e Commonwealth of the Bahamas has also committed itself to improving conditions throughout the international community, and has signed/ratified/acceded to th e following multi-lateral treaties: (1) Inter-
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 37 09-53532 American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty), (2) the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internati onally Protected persons Including Diplomatic Agents, (3) Convention for the S uppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, (4) International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, New York, (5) Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation, Montreal, (6) Convention on Offences and Certain Ot her Acts Committed on Board Aircraft, (7) International Convention Agai nst the taking of Hostages a dopted by the United Nations General Assembly, (8) The Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, (9) Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the At mosphere and in Outer Space and Underwater, (10) Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (Tlatelolco Treaty) Opened for Signature at Mexico City, (11) Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and us e of Outer Space includi ng the Moon and other Celestial bodies, (12) Treaty on the Non-Proliferati on of Nuclear Weapons, (13) Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of St ockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, (14) Conve ntion on the Prohibition of th e Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (B iological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction 1972, (15) Inter-American Convention Against Illicit Traffic, Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosiv es and other Related Materi al 1997, (16) Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Sea Bed and the Ocean Floor and In the Subsoil Thereof, (17) Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Expl oration and Use of Oute r Space including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodi es, (18) Treaty Banning Nu clear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere in Outer Space and Underwater, (19) IAEA Conventio n on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, (20) ICAO Protoc ol for Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports Serving International Aviation Supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Civil Avia tion, (21) Internati onal Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings; and (22) C onvention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection. Proposed domestic legislation 67. The Government keeps under review the reform and enhan cement of existing legislation and the enactment of new laws so as to remain in the forefr ont of countries advocating the advancement of human rights prac tices internationally. The G overnment of the Bahamas has under active review legislation to improve the provisions of law relating to: the administration of justice, protection and guard ianship of children, education, health insurance, improved protection for the handica pped, emergency relief as sistance, land and es tate administration, industrial relations, and immigration. International human rights instruments 68. Ensuring human rights protectio n for all persons has become an essential aspect of the Bahamas developing into a country with a high level of hum an development. The Government of the Bahamas and the internat ional community shares a comm on vision on improving human
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 38 capabilities throughout the country. Therefore, in order to establish the Baha mas as a country of high human development the Government of the Bahamas has ratified or acceded to the following human rights instruments: (1) The International Convention on the Preventi on and Punishment of th e Crime of Genocide. (1975) (2) The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. (1975) (3) Convention on the prevention of the Crime of Genocide Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 9th December 1948. (August 1975) (4) Convention on the Nationality of Married Women, New York 20th February 1957. (1976) (5) Slavery Convention Signed at Geneva on 25th September 1926 an d Amended by the Protocol Done at the Headquarters of the United Nations, New York on 7th December 1953. (1976) (6) Supplementary Convention on th e Abolition of Slavery, the Sl ave Trade and Institution and practices Similar to Slaver y, Done at Geneva on 7th September 1956. (1976) (7) International Agreement for the Suppression of White Slave Traffic Signed at Paris on 18th May 1904 and Amended by the protocol Si gned at Lake Success New York on 4th May 1949. (1976) (8) Convention on the Political Rights of Women, New York 31st March 1953. (1977) (9) International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid Adopted by the General Assembly of the Unit ed Nations on 30 November 1973. (March 1981) (10) International Convention Agai nst Apartheid in Sports Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10th December 1985. (November 1986) (11) Convention on the Rights of the Child Adopt ed by the General Asse mbly of the United Nations on 20th November 1989. (1991) (12) The Convention on the Rights of the Child. (1991) (13) The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimi nation Against Women Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations. (1993) (14) Convention Relating to the St atus of Refugees, Geneva on 28th July 1951. (1993)
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 39 09-53532 (15) Protocol Relating to the St atus of Refugees, New York 31st January 1967. (1993) (16) Hague Convention of 25th October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction. (1993) (17) Amendment to Article 8 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (adopted at the Fourteenth Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on 15th January 1992) (March 1994) (18) Inter American Convention on the Punish ment and Eradication of Violence Against Women Convention of Be lem do Para (May 1995) 69. Although the Government of th e Bahamas has not ratified all of the necessary international human rights instruments to ensu re it has achieved a comprehens ive human rights environment, it has begun to consider augmenting its human rights envi ronment with two additional human rights instruments which were ratified by the in ternational community. The Government of the Bahamas has become a signatory to but not yet ratified the Intern ational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights along with the International C ovenant on Economic, So cial and Cultural on 1st December, 2008. The Government of the Bahama s is confident that once the two additional Covenants become apart of Bahamian domestic le gislation, the Bahamas will attain a more enhanced human rights environment which can establish an enabling environment for all persons throughout the country. Remedies for violations against equal protections for women in the Bahamas 70. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas : Chapter 3 (articles 15-27) of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Baha mas articulates the Fundamental rights and Freedoms of the Individual whic h serves as the Bahamas Bi ll of Rights, in which basic freedoms are protected. As the Ba hamas achieved In dependence on 10th July 1973, the Government of the Bahamas cr eated its Constitution based upon the Bill of Rights employed throughout the United Kingdom, a nd also implemented similar measures as found in the Universal Declaratio n of Human Rights, which were adopt ed and proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 217A (III) of 10th December 1948. Therefore, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Ba hamas has implemented a universally accepted human rights benchmarks throughout its Cons titution in hopes of avoiding any human rights violations throughout the country. 71. The Privy Council : As with most Commonwealth Coun tries, the Privy Council of the British House of Lords, specifi cally, its Judicial Co mmittee is the supr eme judicial body for most countries which were once apart of th e British Empire. Although numerous Caribbean countries have decided to re place the Privy Council as the final judicial body with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the Governme nt of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas has decided to continue to employ the Privy Co uncil as its supreme judicial authority.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 40 72. The Courts: The Bahamas has not esta blished a separate court to address Constitutional matters or any violations on human rights whic h are enshrined in th e Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Although there is no separate court fo r human rights issues, the Supreme Court of the Baha mas has the jurisdiction to ad judicate on ma tters involving human rights. Constitutional provisions which protect women in the Bahamas 73. Education: In its bid to ensure equality in re lation to access to education for all Bahamians, the Education Act by virtue of Section 22(3) provides that no pupil who has attained the age of sixteen (16) shall be re quired to leave any mainta ined school, unless he is incapable of benefiting from the types of education and inst ruction available. The language of the law is not yet gender sensitiv e to include references to he/s he, however domestic legislation is in place which protects th e rights of women in the Bahama s. Further, Section 23 places a responsibility on parents to s ecure the education of their ch ildren and to secure regular attendance at school. 74. Employment: In the case of employment, the Ba hamas Employment Act 2001 has made great provisions for both sexes and emphasizes special provisions for women. The Employment Act 2001 has provided increased maternity leav e benefits, from eight to twelve weeks; established equal pay fo r equal work; granted parental leav e; established minimum wages and addressed unfair dismissal. See table 16 in the Annex of this State report. 75. Health: There are several le gal provisions that regulate the he alth services. Health care is generally provided to all citizen s. However, traditional gender roles and cultural practices ascribed to women, the major responsibility for health of th e family. The focus of health services is therefore mainly on women. The Ba hamas is currently making efforts to encourage men and young boys to take greate r interest in their health th rough programmes such as the Male Health Initiative. Efforts are also bein g made to allow greater access to health care, especially reproductive health. As a result, Fa mily Life and Health Education (FLHE) are taught in most schools and th e Adolescent Reproductive Health Programme is helping to re-socialize teenagers, especi ally males, about the res ponsibility of parenting. Legal and other remedies for women who are victims of discrimination 76. If the discriminatory practi ce is one that is protected by the Constitution, the woman can appeal to the Supreme Court, wh ich decides upon the constitutionali ty or otherwis e of the act. Women can also seek legal redr ess from other government bodies or departments, such as the Police, depending on the form of discrimination. 77. Other remedies for women who are victims of discrimination include the soliciting of help and support from local womens Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs); seeking counseling from specialized social groups a nd churches; as well as appeali ng to human rights institutions.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 41 09-53532 State machineries dealing wi th specific legal issues 78. Consistent with its inte rnational obligations, the Gove rnment of the Bahamas has attempted to protect the fundament al rights and freedoms of all its citizens. It has taken special steps to prevent discrimination against women and young girls in fulfillment of its obligations under this Convention. To this end, legislatio n has been passed, ame nded or repealed, to facilitate the drive towards a more gender sensitive and gender-equitable society. 79. The BWA is the Government/ State Machiner y mandated to ensure that the rights of women are legally and otherwise protected. Th e BWA has led active e ducational campaigns with the public, including local womens NGOs, on relevant legislation as well as on other issues that impact women. Th e Child Protection Act, 2006 was passed after extensive public consultations along with th e Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act 2007. 80. The BWA has also played an integral role in coordinating the na tional public awareness campaign on Trafficking in Pers ons (TIP) which is an emerging issue in the Caribbean. This has included participating in nati onal delegations to international meetings on this issue as well as public education and making presentations to NGOs and othe r agencies that requested information. Given a high level of public interest on human trafficking, th e collaboration with other agencies has been quite st rong. As the majority of cases of human trafficking are related to the sexual exploitation of women and girls, the BWA has been an active member of the national committee on Trafficking in Persons and will continue to colla borate with relevant agencies both nationally and in ternationally, as part of its commitment to address the challenges that face the women of the Bahamas. 81. The BWA has also spearhead ed consultations on proposed changes to the Constitution as part of its public education progr amme to raise awareness of the public and especially women, about the persistent gende r inequalities in the C onstitution with a view to guiding the revision of the Constitution as well as to develop gender-sensitive polic ies, programmes and strategies to correct them. The work of the BWA is supported by government bodies such as the Domestic Violence Unit of the Royal Bahamas Police Fo rce (RBPF), civil soci ety organizations and international organizations. Functions of Non-Governmental Organizations related to the pr otection of womens rights 82. There are well established NGOs in the Bahamas which span from local community groups to prestigious interna tional non-governmental organizati ons advocating specific themes that address international concerns. The G overnment of the Bahamas appreciates any contributions or suggestions wh ich may be put forward by any NGO that can contribute to the social improvement of persons throughout the country. The Gove rnment of the Bahamas has begun to encourage the develo pment of civil society throughout the country as a means to improve the social contract betw een its populace and its government.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 42 83. In 2005 the Governme nt of the Bahamas esta blished the Non-Govern mental Organizations Act, 2005 to provide for the establishment and registration of non-govern mental organizations. The Government of the Bahamas looks forw ard towards developing a more synergetic relationship with all NGOs as a means to improve all aspects of life throughout the country. There are numerous NGOs that as sist the BWA and the government to carry out their mandate to promote the rights of wome n. The NGOs which are register ed in the Bahamas are: (1) Abilities Unlimited, (2) Amnesty Internati onal, (3) Andros Chri stian Ministries, (4) Association For Educational Progress In Th e Bahamas, (5) B.F.A. National Development Programme, (6) Bahamas Aids F oundation, (7) The Bahamas Associ ation For Retired Persons, (8) Bahamas Association for Social Health (BASH), (9) Bahamas Association For The Physically Disabled, (10) Bahamas Chinese Bene volent Association, (11) Bahamas Council on Alcoholism, (12) Bahamas Histor ical Society, (13) Bahamas Family Planning Association (BFPA), (14) Bahamas Mental Health Association, (15) The Bahamas National Council For Disability, (16) The Bahamas Na tional Pride Association, (17) The Bahamas Red Cross Centre for the Deaf, (18) Bahamas Reef Environmental Educational Foundation (B REEF), (19) Cancer Association of Grand Bahama, (20) Candlestick Outreach Center, (21) Chance Foundation, (22) The Childrens Emergency Hostel, (23) C hurch Womens Organizations, (24) Civil Society Bahamas, (25) Columbus House, (26) Council fo r Women in the Bahamas, (27) Crisis Centre, (28) The Dave Burrows Youth & Family Internat ional, (29) Dean Wil liam Granger Centre, (30) Developing Alternatives for Women For A New Era (DAWN), (31) Disabled Persons Organization Limited, (32) Drug Action Service, (33) Educatio nal Assistance Organization, (34) Freeport Volunteer Emergenc y Aid Association, (35) Good Samaritan Senior Citizens, (36) Grand Bahama Children s Home, (37) Grand Bahamas Human Rights Association, (39) Great Commission Ministries International, (39) Hands For Hunger, (40) Haven, (41) The Heal Our Land Family Crisis Center, (42) Helping Hands, Touc hing Hearts, (43) Hopedale Centre, (44) Institute For Me ntally Retarded, The, (45) Institute For The Arts, (46) International Association Of Administrative Professionals Bahamas Chapter, (47) Kiwanis Club Of Freeport Grand Bahama (48) Kiwanis Club of Lucay a Grand Bahama, (49) Lady Darling Heritage Foundation Of The Bahamas And Americas, The, (50) Lions Club Of Freeport, (51) Ma rriage Keepers Internationa l, (52) Mary Ingraham Ca re Centre, ( 53) Narcotics Anonymous, (54) Nassau Christian Service Council, (55) Nazareth Centre The, (56) Persis Rodgers Home for the Aged, (57) Project Hope (Bahamas), (58) Project Read Bahamas, (59) Ranfurly Home for Childre n, (60) Red Cross, The, (61) ReEarth, (62) Resources and Education for Autism and Related Challenges (R EACH), (63) Rosetta House, (64) Rotary International, (65) Salvation Army, (66) Th e Sandilands Hospitals Welfare Committee, (67) Senior Citizens Centre, ( 68) Sister Sister (Breast Canc er) Support Group, (69) Special Olympics Bahamas, (70) St. An drews School Foundation, (71) St. Johns University Alumni Association, (72) Teen Challenge, (73) Th e Association Of International Banks & Trust Companies In The Bahamas, (74) The Bahama s Council On Alcoholism, (75) The Bahamas Debutante Foundation, (76) The Bahamas Diabetic Association, (77) The Bahamas Hemophilia Foundation, (78) The Chance Founda tion, (79) The Lyford Cay Sc hool Association, (80) The Nassau Institute, (81) The Na tional Organization Of Womens Associations In The Bahamas (NOWAB), (82) The Scottish Bahamian Society; and (83) Training Cent re for the Disabled, (84) Women In Ministry.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 43 09-53532 VII. Information and publicity 84. Information regarding the human rights environment thr oughout the Bahamas is easily available to any individua l or organization. The Government of the Bahamas perceives that it is essential that all pers ons throughout the Bahama s and especially the in ternational community are informed and knowledgeable on the environment of hum an rights which have been developed for every individual throughout the country. Information is provided through seminars, workshops, an d public education thr ough the print and electr onic media, campaigns, public speaking and the distribution of printed material. 85. Copies of the Constitution of the Commonw ealth of the Bahamas can be found throughout the Bahamas educational facilitie s, libraries, the Depa rtment of Archives, the Department of Government Publications, the Mini stry of Legal Affairs and priv ate institutions. Copies of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas are also available on the internet through the Government of the Ba hamas websites (The cen tral government website, http://www.bahamas.gov.bs ). The Government of the Commonw ealth of the Bahamas has also made its Constitution available to any person throughout the in ternational community on its websites which can be accessed anywhere and by anyone with internet service. The Government of the Bahamas has instructed each Ministry, Department a nd Agency to establish a website with pertinent inform ation to improve the ease at wh ich persons can obtain essential information. 86. The Government of the Bahamas has also devised alternate means to improve public awareness of human rights is sues which are enforced throughout the Bahamas. The Government established the Baha mas Information Services (BIS) in 1974, which operates as a quasi-government department BIS has been delegated as the prim ary entity responsible for the dissemination of information on the activities and policies of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. BIS has three sections in its orga nizational structure, so that each department is responsible for public awareness campaigns through particular mediums; the sections are (1) Press and Publications Section, (2) Broadc asting Section, and (3) Information Technology Section. 87. As public awareness regard ing social issues throughout the Bahamas is essential to developing responsible and wellinformed citizen, the Government of the Bahamas enabled the deregulation of radio thr oughout the Bahamian archipelago so that private enti ties along with the Bahamian Government coul d develop all forms of media to improve public awareness throughout the Bahamas. Presently there are numerous talk-show hosts and programs designed to stimulate discourse on issues of national importance that need to be addressed through input from all segments of society. 88. The Government of the Baha mas established a television ch annel which is dedicated to providing all individuals throughout the Bahama s with access to its Pa rliamentary debates and proceedings in hopes of improving social awar eness throughout the Bahamas. The channel was also established to enc ourage active participation by indi viduals or groups in debating the
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 44 development characteristics of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The Parliamentary channel is considered a basic cable sta tion, meaning that each day persons who have not subscribed to cable television can still access the Governments Parliamentary channel. 89. Information regarding the Convention, al ong with other instrume nts, treaties, and agreements that the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas has ente red into is available online to all pers ons throughout the internationa l community, and especially throughout the Bahamas at the Minist ry of Foreign Af fairs Website ( http://mfabahamas.org ). In order to improve public awarene ss, the Government of the Ba hamas disseminates its State report through variou s mediums, as it is critical to obtain suggestions and feedback from persons and entities involve d in representing the Gove rnment of the Bahamas. Media involvement 90. The media is consistently invited to cover events organi zed to promote womens human rights. These events include: the International Womens Day (March 8) and the International Day Against Violence Against Women (November 25). They routinely cove r occasions such as seminars, public lectures and provi de airtime for radio and televi sion debates. These help to increase public awarenes s of the rights of women and the me asures adopted for the protection of those rights. State reports 91. As indicated earlier in th is State report, the Bahamas ha s committed itself to numerous conventions and international instruments. Th e country is therefor e required to provide periodical progress reports on the implementation of these conventions. Prep aration of this first CEDAW report has been made possible by several mi nistries and organizati ons in what can be termed a national participatory ef fort. The University of the West Indies (U.W.I.) Centre for Gender and Development Studies, M ona Campus was also instrume ntal in the preparation of the report. The United Nations Po pulation Fund (Jamaica) contracted the services of U.W.I. to assist with the preparation of the report. The BW A distributed various Arti cles and sections to the relevant Ministries/Departmen ts/Agencies to facilitate data collection. Additional research was done and the information compiled to prepar e this report. A validat ion workshop was held with stakeholders to review th e report prior to its submission. International reports 92. The Government of the Bahamas has enabled two instrumental report s to be developed as a means to analyze and compre hend the salient characterist ics of the population of the Bahamas. The reports which were established were: (1) The Bahamas Living Conditions Survey (2001) and (2) The International Orga nization of Migrations Report on Haitian Migrants in the Bahamas (2005). These two reports have been instrumental for governmental entities throughout the Governme nt of tBahamas to address is sues and concerns arising from the domestic socio-economic envi ronment in the Bahamas.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 45 09-53532 93. In addition, the United Na tions publishes its Human Devel opment Reports annually, which have been published since 1990 in order to analyze the le vels of human development throughout the international community. International Organization for Migrations Haitian migrants in the Bahamas 2005 report 94. As part of an ongoing tec hnical assistance program in the field of migration, the International Organization for Migr ation (IOM) is engaged in an effort to gauge the dimension and impact of Haitian migration in the Bahamas. Haitian migrants by far constitute the largest migrant community in the Bahamas, with a distinct linguistic, cu ltural, and social tradition. This undertaking, carried out in coordination with the Government of the Bahamas and with the cooperation and support of the Embassy of Haiti and the lo cal Haitian community, involves data collection and analysis of existing inform ation, and conducting surv eys of Hait ian migrant households. The purposes are manifold: (1) To contribute updated data and research to the scarce and fragmented information currently availa ble; (2) To offer additional perspectives on this significant migration phe nomenon; and (3) To supply a fre sh information resource to policy makers for future planni ng purposes, the public at large and, last but not least, the Haitian migrant community itself. 95. IOM is working with the College of the Bahamas, which has assembled a multidisciplinary team, to complete this project, whic h is three-fold in nature: (1) An analysis of accumulated existing data; (2) A report on results of the household survey, designed to gather a broad range of demographic and other data; and (3) A review of local media coverage within the last 3-5 years on the subjec t of Haitian migrants either in or coming to the Bahamas. 96. Against this backdrop, the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas has expressed to IOM its interest in receiving technical suppor t to address effectively the challenges associated with the Haitian migrant phenomenon. As the principal intergovernmental organization in the field of migration, IO M is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all by serving the need s of governments and migrants through the provision of services and advice; thus IOM is well positioned and pleased to assist in th is undertaking. This project plays a part in fulfilling the governments desire to address a long-standing migrat ion phenomenon, while it also manifests IO Ms commitment to improving lives of migrants and helping countries to deal with their own migration issues. The Bahamas Living Condit ions Survey (BLCS) 2001 97. In order to comprehend the socioeconomic factors which effect persons throughout the Bahamas, the Government of th e Commonwealth of the Bahama s implemented the first-ever Bahamian Living Conditions Survey (BLCS) The survey was c onducted in 2001 by the Department of Statistics along with the Ministry of Health, which anal yzed both monetary and non-monetary factors to determ ine overall household well-being. The purpose of the BLCS was to develop an accurate measur e of the conditions under which pe rsons throughout the Bahamas live.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 46 98. The BLCS survey team randomly sele cted 2,000 households, which represented approximately 2% of total househ olds throughout the Bahamas. Heads of selected households were interviewed by specially trained interviewers over a month-long period. The BLCS focused on eight interrelated issues: dem ography and migrati on, poverty, household expenditures, health, educati on, employment, access to comm unity services and social programmes and housing. The United Nations Human Development Reports 99. These Human Development Re ports have enabled the United Nations to ascertain how countries throughout the intern ational community were performi ng with respect to improving their social environmental characteristics that greatly influence the levels of empowerment attainable throughout a particular country or territory. These repor ts have been in strumental for governments, international inst itutions, non-governmental organizat ions and the international community to engage in comparative analysis of the effects of particul ar policies which have been implemented. 100. Human Development has become an importa nt social paradigm that advocates the enhancement of salient characteristics which can improve the environmen t for people to lead better lives. By having more choices, citizens can become empowered to achieve higher levels of development to assist them in reaching their full potenti al, by increased access to resources which are necessary for a higher standard of liv ing. Enlarging people s choices facilitates greater participation in communal activities wh ich inevitably contributes to improved capacity building initiatives wi thin any country. 101. Therefore, it was essential that the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas highlight its record regarding the levels of human development achieved throughout the country. Although the Bahamas has historically been ranked as a high human development country, the Government of the Bahamas has categorically mainta ined that its goals were to improve the social environment throughout the country each year so that the Bahamas would become recognized as a country which cultivated its most important as set; its people. Once again the Government of the Ba hamas was pleased that its position within the United Nations Human Development Report ranked it in the top tier of this pres tigious report. Going forward, the Government of the Bahamas in tends to address social characte ristics which are in need of improvement by means of enhan ced policy implementation, so th at the Bahamas can continue to remain at the fore front of human development throughout its region and the international community. 102. The United Nations Human Development I ndex (HDI) is a composite measure that analyzes three essent ial dimensions of hu man development. Alt hough the HDI is not a comprehensive measure of human development, it provides a universal measure of the multidimensional relationship between, livi ng a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), being educated (measured by a dult literacy and enrolment at the primary, secondary and tertiary level) a nd having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 47 09-53532 power parity, PPP, income).iii The 2007/2008 United Nations Human Development Report indicated that the Bahamas was classified as a high human deve lopment country throughout its human development indices. A few of the most notable indicators pertai ning to the 2007/2008 United Nations Human Development Repor t revealed that th e Bahamas ranked 49th out of 177 countries with data internationally, in bot h its Human Development I ndex (HDI), and in its Human Development Index Trends. 103. In 2007/2008 the United Nati ons revealed that the HDI value for the Bahamas was 0.845. The HDI value trends indicate that the Bahamas has been pr ogressively improving its HDI values, as the correlation betw een life expectancy, educationa l attainment and income has improved. The Bahamas achieved a comparat ive HDI value as Uruguay (0.852), Croatia (0.850) and Costa Rica (0.846); however one significant differen ce which was evident between the Bahamas and the aforementioned countries wa s related to their respective GDP per-capita values. The differences in GDP per-capita indica te that persons in the Bahamas have been afforded a higher level of econo mic well-being, and therefore sh ould be empowered to access greater resources which could help them attain higher standards of living. Table 17 The United Nations Human De velopment Index Trends, 1975-2000 HDI Rank Country 19751980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 49 The Bahamas 0.8090.8220.8310.82 0.825 0.845Source: United Nations Human Development Report 2007/2008, p. 234 104. The above table hi ghlights the determination of the Government of the Bahamas to consistently improve its human development characteristics. Th e Government of the Bahamas has remained actively enga ged in improving its most import asset, its people. Therefore, as the government recognizes that development is a multidimensional process, policies were established which c ould enlarge choices that people throughout the Baha mas are faced with on a daily basis. 105. The United Nations ranking for a countrys Commitment to Health (resources, access and services) indicated that the Bahamas was ranked 49th out of 177 countries with data. The Bahamas was considered as havi ng a high level of human devel opment, which establishes an environment that enables persons throughout the Bahamas to lead a long and healthy life. The high human development ranking attained by the Bahamas in th is universal indicator also validates the importance fo r the Government of the Bahamas to ensure a hi gh quality of life for all persons throughout the Bahamas, and to meet its internationa l obligations es tablished with the international community. 106. The Human and Income P overty ranking for developing c ountries indicated that the Bahamas was positioned in the highest tier of human developm ent. Once again the Bahamas ranked 49th out of 177 countries with data, which reveals the effo rts of the Government of the Bahamas to afford all members of society every possible opport unity to improve their lives.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 48 Although the Bahamas is cl assified as a developi ng country, its Governme nt has consistently attempted to offer its citizens similar access to essential se rvices that are found in more developed countries. 107. The United Nations in dex relating to Commitme nt to Education (publ ic spending) listed the Bahamas as a country of hi gh human development due to the dedicati on of the government to ensure that it s mandate of affording a ll persons throughout the Ba hamas the opportunity to receive a high quality education was achieved. This i ndex indicates that governmental expenditure on education increased by 3.4 per cent between 1991 and 2005 which has improved the competency of the educat ional system throughout the Bahamas. 108. Another important ranking si gnifying a persons ability to have access to the necessary resources needed for a decent st andard of living was the Inequality in Income or Expenditure Index. The Bahamas achieved an international ranking of 49th out of 177 count ries with data, which further illustrates the continued commitm ent of the Government of the Bahamas to exceed international benchmarks. VIII. Factors affecting implementation 109. The Government of the Baha mas wishes to inform the Comm ittee that sinc e accession to the Convention, the Government of the Baha mas has implemented si gnificant structural changes that should improve its ability to e nhance its human rights environment; and in particular ensuring equality fo r all women in the country. 110. The Government of the Baha mas also perceives that although substantial issues still exist in achieving parity for all women in the country, the Bahama s has made significant progress on improving its social or der to recognize the im portance of women in a ll facets of national development. Although the G overnment of the Bahamas has been, and continues to be constricted by its financial an d human resource capabilities, the Bahamian Government has prioritized the enjoyment of hum an rights as a fundamental ri ght that must be enforced uniformly for all persons in the Bahamas. Section B. Information rela ting to specific articles of the Convention Article 1: Defining Disc rimination against Women 111. The Constitution of the Baha mas is the supreme law of the land. In genera l, it embodies the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR ). By virtue of Chapter 3 Section 15 it provides equality for all citizen s regardless of race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex. Likewi se, section 26 states that no person shall be tr eated in a discriminatory manner by any person acting by virtue of any written law or in the performance of the function of any public office or any public authority.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 49 09-53532 112. The Constitution of the Ba hamas does not however, specif ically include sex in its definition of discriminator y, which it describes as: Affording different treatment to different pers on attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, place of origin political opinions colour or creed whereby person of one such description are subjected to disa bilities or restrictions to which person of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description. 113. This and other amendments are the focus of the public education campaign of the BWA to redress this legal anomal y in the Constitution. It should also be noted that the legal definition of discrimination in the Baha mian Constitution does not include the term gender based violence against women or specifically state that the definition include s discrimination against women in the public and private sphere. Article 2: Obligations to Eliminate A ll Forms of Discrimination against Women Constitutional reform 114. Based on its commitmen ts under the CEDAW Conventi on, the Government of the Bahamas has a constitutional oblig ation to ensure equality and non discrimination for all citizens regardless of sex. The Government of the Bahamas incl uding those persons responsible for drafting and reforming the Cons titution need to spec ifically incorporate sex in its definition of discriminatory practices to specifically prohibit discri mination on the basis of sex. The Beijing Platform for Action 115. The Beijing Platform fo r Action, Paragraph 218, enable s governments to register reservations to human ri ghts instruments. In pa ragraph 232(b) and in Ar ticle 2(a) of CEDAW, governments are encouraged to provide consti tutional guarantees to prohibit discrimination against women. Additionally, Arti cle 9(2) requires State partie s to grant wome n equal rights with men with respect to the nati onality of their children. As note d in the previous section, the Constitution does not explicitly provide protecti on against discrimination on the basis of sex. 116. Regrettably Articles 2(a) an d 9(2) are also sources of c oncern to the Bahamas and have been registered by the Governme nt of the Bahamas as reserva tions to the CEDAW Convention. Under paragraph 230(c) of the Beijing Platform for Action, governments are encouraged to limit their reservations and al so review them periodically w ith a view to removing them. 117. The Constitution of the Ba hamas continues to fa vour men in the gran ting citizenship to their foreign born spouses and thr ough their ability to c onfer their citizenship to their children. Sections 8.9 and 10 of the C onstitution of the Bahamas discri minates against Bahamian women by not giving them equal rights to grant citizenship and nati onality to their foreign born spouses and to confer and pa ss on Bahamian citizenship to their children who are born to
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 50 foreign spouses. However, the Government of the Bahamas has developed domestic legislation which enables women in the Ba hamas to transmit their nati onality to their children. 118. In 2002, a national programme was mobilized to remove this area of discrimination against women in the Constitution. After the conclusi on of public discussi on on the matter, a referendum was held on Febr uary 27th, 2002 to amend thes e and other areas of the constitution. One hundred thirty -five thousand, four hundred and eighty (135,480) persons registered to vote in the refe rendum and 54.8% of those voting were women. The referendum was resoundingly defeated. The de feat, however, was not regarded as a rejection of equal rights for women, but rather the results of a process that did not permit the citizenry sufficient time to debate and internalize the propos ed changes. Following the refe rendum, efforts have been made to address the reservations. 119. A Constitutional Reform Commission was appointed, and has held public debates on the amendment of the Constitution. The Government has stated its intention to have extensive dialogue and public education prog rammes before bringing the matter back to the electorate so that the appropriate amendments can be made into law. This wi ll enable the Bahamas to bring its policies in line with CEDAW, the Beijing Platform for Action and other international conventions which the country has ratified. Anti-discriminatory legisl ation passed since 1993 120. In order to eliminate disc rimination against wo men in health, educa tion and employment, the Government of the Bahamas has pass ed the following domes tic legislation: 121. Health : Several legal provisions have been made to regulate equality in health services throughout the Bahamas. Health car e is generally provided to al l citizens. Howe ver, due to traditional gender roles and cultu ral practices ascribed to women, the majo r responsibility for the health of the average Bahamian family falls on women. Therefore, the focal point of health services in the Bahamas concentrates on women. The Government of th e Bahamas is currently making efforts to encourage men and young boys to take gr eater interest in their health through programmes such as the Male Health Initiative. Efforts are also being made to allow greater access to health care, especially reproductive hea lth. Family Life and Health Education (FLHE) programmes were strengthene d and are now taught in mo st schools. The Adolescent Reproductive Health Programme wa s also expanded and is helpin g to re-socialize teenagers, especially males, about the responsibility of parenting. 122. Education Act : To promote gender equality in access to educati on for all Bahamians, the Education Act by virtue of Section 22(3) provi des that no pupil who has attained the age of sixteen (16) shall be required to leave any maintained school, unless he/she is incapable of benefiting from the types of educat ion and instruction available. While the language of the law could be more gender se nsitive to include references to he/she, the principle of completing education and training will suppor t the equality of both girls an d boys. In addition, Section 23 of the Education Act places a res ponsibility on parents to secure the education of their children
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 51 09-53532 and to ensure regular attendanc e at school. Steps taken to di versify the curriculum employed throughout the Bahamian educatio nal system has subs tantially benefited girls in schools and these are addressed in Article 10. 123. Employment Act : To promote gender equality in employment, the Bahamas Employment Act 2001 has made great provisi ons for both sexes and emphasi zes special provisions for women. This Act has increased maternity l eave benefits from eight to twelve weeks; established equal pay fo r equal work; granted parental leav e; established minimum wages and addressed unfair dismissal. Mechanisms to prot ect the rights of workers as a result of the International Labour Office (ILO) and other Conve ntions are also consid ered as part of an enabling environment for gender equality. Mechanisms to enfor ce anti-discriminatio n laws and policies 124. Mechanisms to enforce anti-discrimination la ws and policies need to be strengthened. While the BWA is the primary implementing ag ency for the CEDAW Convention, it does not have any legal authority to enfo rce anti-discrimination laws and pol icies. However, as a part of the BWAs mandate, it is responsib le for advising each respective Ministry regarding laws and policies which need to be amended. Additional efforts will be made to improve enforcement through the Bahamian judicial syst em through increased training. Special remedies for redress for women to pursue their rights 125. In addition to pre-existing legislation enforced in the Bahamas which enables women to pursue their fundamental rights, public awar eness campaigns conducted by the BWA and womens NGOs have attempted to establish a more gender sensitive an d gender-equitable society. Women who are victims of discrimination ha ve several legal and other remedies for redress. If the discriminatory pr actice is one that is protecte d by the Constitution, the women can appeal to the Supreme Cour t which will analyze whether or not any violations occurred. Other remedies for women who ar e victims of discrimination in clude soliciting of help and support from the BWA, from womens NGOs; s eeking counseling from specialized social groups and churches; as well as appealing to internati onal human rights institutions. Institutional mechanisms to protect the rights of women 126. Presently, there have been no Commissions or Ombudspers on developed to promote and protect the rights of women. The BWA has worked in conjunction with the Attorney-Generals office to establish adequate institutional mechan isms to protect the ri ghts of women in the Bahamas. Efforts to modify cu stoms and practices 127. Gender based violence is considered a problem in the Bahamas. In or der to eliminate this heinous practice the Government of the Bahama s enacted the Domestic Violence (Protection
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 52 Orders) Act 2007, which came into force on 1 December, 2008. The BWA and womens NGOs have organized public educationa l programmes, along wi th additional traini ng for the police in handling domestic violence and has established a shelter for victims, which provides counseling for women who are e xperiencing domestic violence. Sanctions for acts of di scriminations against women 128. There are legal sanctions for acts of discrimination ag ainst women in the Bahamas. However, relatively few women use the existing av enues available for redr ess in the event that they have been discriminated against. Measures to advance the situation of women in the Bahamas 129. There are substantial public educational initiatives and sc holarships for women to study and improve their educational and employment status, credit for small businesses, and mentoring programmes for women in the Bahamas. Additional measures implemented by the Government of the Bahamas ha ve been focused on improving s ecurity and safety throughout the country through improved crim e management and supplementary training of po lice officers. The Government of the Bahama s perceives that a comprehens ive approach is required throughout Bahamian society so th at all women in the country ar e empowered to achieve their goals. Fortunately, during the pe riod under review, wome n in the Bahamas have become the beneficiaries of educational init iatives offered throughout the Baha mas, compared to their male counterparts. Programmes to modify customs and prac tices that discriminate against women 130. Public education programme s organized by the BWA and NGOs have helped to improve the visibility of discrimination against women in the Bahamas, in addition these programs have also increased public disc ussion on the need to change gender stereotype s and to eliminate any form of discrimination against women. Public discussions in the medi a and through educational programmes on issues su ch as sexual harassment in the workplace have created awareness that these practices are inappropriate and should not be tolerated. Human resource policies in organizations are also he lping to change discriminatory prac tices throughout the country. In the education sector, special measures have been taken to encourage girls to pursue careers in nontraditional fields in or der to change occupationa l stereotypes which have historically enabled the majority of working women being clustere d in low-paying low-sk illed jobs. Parenting education programmes are challeng ing traditional roles for men and women in the family and are promoting greater gender equality in sharing the demands of parenting.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 53 09-53532 Practical obstacles to womens full de velopment and enjoyment of their fundamental freedoms 131. The main obstacles to attaining gender equa lity in the Bahamas ar e traditional attitudes and values, as well as cultur al practices, inadequate monito ring of laws and inadequate knowledge and use of mechanisms to promote gender equality. Sp ecial temporary measures are needed to change the unequal ra tes of labour force participati on of women, lo wer wages and other areas of discrimination. The prevailing social con cept of the male breadwinner throughout Bahamian society is presently being deconstructed, due to some 38 per cent of single female headed households existing throughout the country. Traditional roles for women and men in the family, workplace, in politics a nd in the wider community are also seen as significant obstacles. Culturally th e process of re-socialization of gender roles wi ll take a long time in order to change attit udes and practices that discrimina te against women, however this important transition has begun. Article 3: Measures to ensure the fu ll development and ad vancement of women 132. The Government of the Baha mas along with its respective mini stries and organizations has continued to work to wards the development and advancem ent of women in the Bahamas. Women have continued to adva nce meaningfully in areas su ch as: politics, public life, education and employment. Howeve r, one significant failure for th e Bahamas has been that not all women are advancing at the same pace. Those specially di sadvantaged are women in the lower socio-economic classes, some women in th e Family Islands (Rural women) and migrant Haitian women; who need special attention as they are the most marginalized group of women in the country. In addition, women with disabiliti es are also in need of more attention from the Government of the Bahamas, NGO s and local entities, due to the tremendous shortfalls in addressing disabilitie s in the Bahamas. 133. As a result of the Bahamas skewed de velopment, the government and other NGOs are making efforts to support the economic empow erment of poor women and their families through a number of domestic in itiatives. The government and responsible ministries and organizations continue to wo rk towards the development a nd advancement of Bahamian women through efforts to suppo rt the economic empowermen t of poor women and their families through a number of initiati ves which are summarized below. 134. The Urban Renewal Initiativ e is a programme of successiv e Governments of the Bahamas which supports the social and ec onomic needs of inner city co mmunities which include a large percentage of young women. Th ese women are unemployed, uns killed and have multiple dependents. Stakeholders from th e public and private sectors, in cluding the Police Department, Department of Social Services the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) and the Bahamas Development Bank have forged partnerships to suppor t these women through skill training, employment and micro-enterprise projects.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 54 135. The Bahamas Development Bank was also established to assist local entrepreneurs and in January 2006, the Bank unveiled it s Micro Loan Programme. This special initiative targets: handicraft/souvenir manufacturers, seamstresses, tailor s, painting contract ors, lawn-care and landscape contractors, an d other small busin ess persons who need to purchase raw materials, supplies or equipment. Elig ible persons may borrow up to a maximum of $10,000. The majority of the beneficiaries of this progr amme have been women. The BWA has also supported this programme by orga nizing training workshops to develop the entrepreneurial skills of women. They have partnered with other governmental agencies to mobilize assistance for these women. 136. The area of womens reproductive health ha s been another area of advancement, in addition to initiatives related to womens economic empowerment. These efforts have resulted in a steady decline in the count rys fertility rate, from 3.4 in the 1970s to 2.5 in 2005. This decline contributes to better phys ical and mental hea lth for women and is also reflected in longer years of schooling for fe males throughout the country. National mechanisms to promote the advancement of women 137. The BWA is the governme ntal/ State machinery mandate d to ensure the rights and provisions of women are legally and otherwise protected to guide the effective implementation of CEDAW. The BWA has lead several public education cam paigns and partnered with womens NGOs, to address legisl ation as well as other issues which impact womens equality in the Bahamas. This led to the Child Protec tion Act and the Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act. 138. The BWA has also spearh eaded consultations and public education programmes on proposed changes to the Constituti on of the Bahamas. The aim of the BWA has been to improve awareness throughout Bahamian so ciety in order to guide any revision of the Bahamian Constitution in order to support more gender-se nsitive policies and programmes. The work of the BWA is supported by government entities such as the Domestic Vi olence Unit of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), and through active participation from civil society organizations and inte rnational agencies. 139. Under the guidance of the BWA, a committee was establ ished to support the preparation and review of the Bahamas CE DAW State report. A similar mech anism was established for the National Country Report on the Forward Looking Strategies, which was pr esented at the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in 1995. This committee spearheaded the preparation of the Bahamas national report for the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China in 1995. 140. During the period under re view, the capacity of the BW A was strengthene d to better support its work on advocacy and policy to promote womens rights. Through successive government administrations, the BWA has been strategically located in key mini stries that have provided immeasurable support for its programmes. The BWA has pl ayed an integr al role in
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 55 09-53532 coordinating public education and awareness on issues affec ting women. This has included work on Trafficking in Persons (TIP), as the ma jority of cases relate to the sexual exploitation of women and girls. The BWA has been an active member of the national committee on Trafficking in Persons and has co llaborated with relevant nationa l and international agencies to address this problem. 141. The BWA coordinates several events to co mmemorate women and also to promote gender equality and womens empowerment in the Bahamas. These even ts include: A celebration of International Womens Day on March 8 and National Womens Week which is held in November each year. National Womens Week includes public educatio n events on issues pertaining to gender e quality and the empowerment of wome n. These events along with other campaigns have been used to celebrate and hi ghlight the achievements of Bahamian women. 142. In 2007 a newspaper supplement and magazine were dist ributed throughout the country in observance of National Womens Week. Othe r annual events commemorated include the International Day Against Violence Against Wome n, which is celebrate d on November 25; and World AIDS Day, which is celebrated on December 1st. The BWA collaborates with a number of national, regional and intern ational organizations to effe ctively implement its mandate. Among these organizations are NGOs, academic inst itutions such as CO B and the Centre for Gender and Development Studies at the Universi ty of the West Indies, the Inter-American Commission on Women (CIM), the Latin Ameri can Commission on the St atus of Women, and United Nations (UN) agencies such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Development Fund For Women (UNIFEM), the Interna tional Organization on Migration (IOM); as well as CARICOM and the Commonwealth Secretariat. Non-Governmental Organizations which promote and protect womens rights 143. Several NGOs complement th e work of the BWA in promo ting gender equality in the Bahamas. These NGOs operate a shelter for ba ttered women, implement public education campaigns; as well as provide essential development and welfar e assistance to women in the country. Some of these NGOs are: (1) Zonta Cl ubs, (2) Rotary Internat ional, (3) Council for Women in the Bahamas the Na tional Womens Advisory Counc il, (4) The Bahamas Crisis Centre, (5) Developing Alternatives for Wome n For a New Era (DAWN), (6) Political Womens Organizations, (7) Church Womens Organizat ions; and (8) Professional Womens groups. Laws and practices to promote womens political participation 144. There are no laws that speci fically promote and encourage womens political participation; neither are there any formal tr aining programmes or quotas to promote a greater number of women in political office.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 56 Measures to ensure womens effective particip ation at the highest le vels of participation and decision-making 145. In 1962 Universal Adult Suffrage was grante d and women in the Baha mas won the right to vote. Democratic elections were held in the Bahamas consiste ntly under colonial rule (19551964); under self-government ( 1964-1973) and since Independe nce in 1973. The two major political parties have dominated national elections since Independence in 1973. The two main political parties in the Bahamas are the Progr essive Liberal Party (P LP) which governed from 1973-1992 and 2002-2007, and the Free National Movement (FNM) which governed from 1992-2002 and which won the 2007 elections and is expected to go vern until 2012. 146. Prime Ministers of the Co mmonwealth of the Bahamas ha ve all been male and have included: Sir Lynden Pindling (P LP, 1973-1992) who led the count ry in to Independence on 10 July 1973; the Honourable Perry Christie (PLP, 2002-2007), and the Right Honourable Hubert Ingraham (FNM, 1992-2 002 and 2007 to the present). The Right Honourable Hubert Ingraham was the Prime Minister when the Bahamas ratified CEDAW. 147. Although the population of the Bahamas is al most evenly distribut ed between women and men, there is still a significant gap in the political representa tion of women for the country. However, there have been modest increases in the number of women elected to political leadership positions in the last two deca des. The Bahamas has not implemented quotas to ensure the equal representation of women in its Parliament. Additiona l details of womens participation in political lead ership and key positions of gove rnment are provided under Article 7 of this State report. Article 4: Temporary special measures 148. Among the special measures be ing taken to promote gender equality are: revision of laws, public education, and promoting ge nder sensitive programmes in schools. The Bahamian Governments official policy to accelerate the de facto equality of women 149. The BWA has taken considerable steps to de velop a National Gender Po licy. This is being done with support from regional an d international agencies, and has involved a national needs assessment survey including c onsultations with stakeholders throughout the Bahamas. The BWA expects that these consultations s hould be complete by the end of 2009. Revision of Law: Inheritance 150. During the period under re view, legislative changes have resulted in women and men having equal rights established under the law in regards to inhe ritance. The Married Womens Property Act is addressed in Article 15 of this St ate report. However, at the time of accession to CEDAW, this area and severa l others posed a challenge to the Bahamas and therefore reservations were regist ered. The situation has now been regularized.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 57 09-53532 151. One reservation related to Article 16(h) of CEDA W which requires States parties to take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimi nation against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations and in particular to ensure, on the basis of equality of men and women the same rights for both spouses in respect of the ownership, acquisition, management, administration, enj oyment and disposition of propert y, whether free of charge or for a valuable consideration. 152. The inheritance law of the Bahamas at that time wa s governed by the rule of primogeniture, which did not perm it women to inherit from a pers on who died intestate. To address this inequity in the law, international funding was received from the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Commissi on of Women, which assi sted in hosting town meetings in the majority of th e inhabited areas of the Bahami an archipelago. This process brought volunteers from the legal profession together who fa cilitated discussions on the existing legislation and solicited views from participants. There was also an extensive media campaign with members participa ting as guests on tele vision and radio talk shows, addressing public education meetings with civil society organiza tions. Response s were varied but these meetings supported Article 16 (h) of CEDAW as we ll as Strategic Objec tive 1.1 of the Human Rights section of the Beijing Pl atform for Action. Public e ducation continues to be an important strategy for promo ting gender equality, awareness of citizens rights and the implications of violations. 153. In 2002, as a result of th ese initiatives, a new Inherita nce Law was enacted which now permits men and women to inherit equally. The Bahamas can now c onsider removing the reservation to Article 16(h). Temporary measures to achieve equality between women and men 154. While there is no explic it policy of affirmative acti on by the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, numerous well-qualified women ha ve been appoi nted to top leadership positions throughout the public sector (the Judiciary and the Executive arms of the government) during the years under review. These appointments and subsequent performance have tremendously helped to de velop an enabling environment which promotes equality for women in the country. Article 5: The Elimination of gender stereotypes Cultural and trad itional practices 155. Legal and other changes in the status of women are helpi ng to redefine traditional gender roles and sexual stereotypes in th e home, workplace and at nation al levels. However, some of these remain a challenge and are most evident in health issues, womens lower participation in the labour force and their lower ra tes of remuneration. Therefore, issues relati ng to Article 5 are likely to remain a ch allenge for some time.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 58 156. Unfortunately, many cultural and tradi tional practices in the home limit womens advancement. For example, gende r inequality in domestic housew ork, parenting and caring of children limits the ability of women and girls to actively pa rticipate throughout the labour market. This in turn affects their employment status and income earning potential. Many malefemale relationships also refl ect traditional sex roles of a ma le breadwinner and dependent females although patterns are changing. Measures to change social and cultural patterns 157. In schools the FLHE curriculum encourages li fe skills, sexual safety and career planning. The role of religion 158. Some churches in the c ountry adhere to traditional roles for men and women that perpetuate sex roles and ster eotypes. Although the situati on is changing throughout numerous religious denominations, careful attention must be focused on establis hing a comprehensive plan to redefine traditional gender roles throughout all segm ents of Bahamian society. The roles of women and men in Bahamian society 159. Men in the Bahamas are exp ected to become the breadwinner for the family, along with their traditional roles as provide rs and protectors. Womens roles are to be family caretakers, with females having the primar y responsibility for the care of the young, the sick and the elderly. Women are also expected to combin e their reproductive and productive roles as workers. This is particularly important for the 38 per cent of Female Heads of Households (FHHs) who do not live with a male head of household. Thes e roles however are changing. The role of stereotyping in the media 160. Unfortunately there remain s some stereotyping related to exploiting and highlighting womens sexuality especi ally in the media. Efforts to eliminate gender stereotyping of women and men 161. Efforts have been made in the media to broaden the images of males and females but there remain several obstacles linked to particular cultural pract ices and norms throughout the country. Laws and customs of the Bahamas 162. In the Bahamas, the man is still traditionally considered as the head of the household when women and men live together. Evidently, among the 38 per cen t of single FHHs, the women would be considered the househol d head. Therefore it can be e xpected that Bahamian society
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 59 09-53532 has begun to redefine it s perceptions regarding females beco ming the head of household in the Bahamas. Womens and mens employment 163. The concept of particular j obs being associated with men or women still persists in the Bahamas, however this prevalence is changi ng. Domestic chores in the household were traditionally considered womens work while outside chores (washing vehi cles, cutting lawns, painting, taking out ga rbage, lifting heavy equipment, re pairing roofs or securing the house before a hurricane etc.) were all considered mens work. Throughout the Bahamian workforce, some sectors are male dominated (technical areas) while other are female dominated (caring professions such as nursing an d teaching). See tables 11-13 in this State report for pertinent data rega rding male and female dominat ed sectors of the economy. Additional details are also pr ovided under Article 11 of this State report. Generally sex stereotyping is still evident in employment, with women clustered in jobs related to traditional female roles in low-pa ying service industries. There is also an under representation of women in public leadership positions, however wome n have developed into the dominant gender throughout the Government of the Bahamas Public Service. Wome n do move into traditional male occupations, for example since 1964, women have served in the Royal Bahamas Police Force, but are still under-represented numerically. Work forbidden for women 164. There are no legal restrict ions in the Bahamas which prev ent women from engaging in any forms of legal employment. Tasks for girls and boys in th e home and school environment 165. Parents and teachers have te nded to reinforce sex st ereotyping of certain tasks for girls and boys. At home, girls are more likel y to be asked to do inside chores such as washing, cooking and cleaning. Boys would usually be required to do outside chor es such as cleaning up the yard or tending to animals. In the school environment, effort s to change gende r stereotypes in education received a boost in 1997 with the introduc tion of a major curric ulum reform aimed at improving the relevance an d quality of subjects ta ught to students as well as a shift to use more culturally relevant indigenous ma terials. The reform also addres sed sex stereotyping in old and outdated school textbooks. During the period under review, the Ba hamas can report that sex stereotyping has been eradicat ed throughout the Natural Scie nces, English la nguage, and the Technical and Vocational subjec ts. In addition, education is still a female-dominated occupation, as the overwhelming majority of teach ers have been and continues to be females. Responsibility for the care of children 166. Throughout the Bahamas, wo men still have the major res ponsibility for the care of children; however, more father s are now involved in child car e and have been encouraged
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 60 through parenting education progr ams. Provision of fa mily leave accessible to either mothers or fathers has been a positive development to encourage mo re equitable shar ing of family responsibilities between fathers and mothers. In cases of divorce, moth ers are typically given custody of the children especially if they ar e very young. In recent times, more fathers are demanding their rights to the custody of their children. Provisions for fam ily life education 167. This is accessible to chil dren attending school where there is a Family Life and Health Education (FLHE) Programme. Some churches th roughout the country have established family life programs for their memb ers and their communities. Consistency of the Bahamian educatio nal syllabus with the Convention 168. The FLHE syllabus provides ge neral support but is not directly linked to or reflective of the CEDAW Convention. Right to chastisement 169. In the Bahamas, husbands do not have a legal right to chasti se their wives, however, cases of domestic violence do occur. Police officer s have been trained in domestic violence interventions, empowering them to better prot ect the rights of women who may complain of chastisement and violence from their spouses. The enactment of legislation has strengthened the rights of women in this area. Perceptions of violent behaviour between spouses 170. Unfortunately violent behaviour has become more frequent across all social and economic classes, but is increasingly re jected as socially unacceptable throughout the Bahamas. Women are the main victims a lthough some men are victim s of such violence. Th e rights of these men are adversely affected by social norms which perceive battered me n as soft and there may be under-reporting of such cases to the Police the ma jority of whom ar e males. There are counseling and support services for both battered women and me n but more interventions are needed for males who perpetrate violence agai nst women and for men who are themselves the victims of gender based violence. Public education programme s on womens rights 171. There are several such programmes and th e media also provides support in promoting awareness in print and electronic forms.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 61 09-53532 Conflict resolution education for men and women 172. Counseling programmes offered by religi ous and other groups promote non-violent interventions. The Police also promote mediation training in communities and schools and the Bahamas Crisis Centre has impl emented a Peace Campaign in the public and private school systems. Dowry or bride price 173. This is not a practice in the Bahamas. Promoting awareness of domestic viol ence among law enforcement officers 174. Many police officers were trai ned in Domestic Violence Prev ention. Some police stations have posters that build awaren ess on domestic viol ence prevention. The Community Policing Programme and domestic violence prevention stra tegy of the Royal Ba hamas Police Force includes public education on repor ting Domestic Abuse. Officers have also par ticipated in Caribbean training programs on domestic violence interventions for law enforcement officers. Training in Domestic Violence is a mandatory component of the curriculum of the Police Training Centre. Domestic violence shelters 175. Two private entities, in part nership with The Depa rtment of Social Services operate safe houses to assist battered women but more are needed across the country. Th e Crisis Centre also operates a toll-free hot line for victims of domestic viol ence in New Providence and Grand Bahama. Law enforcement officers treatment of sexually assaulted victims 176. Police officers in the Bahama s have been adequately traine d, and there are female police officers working with victim s of sexual assault. Womens rights groups ci ted a general reluctance on the part of law enforcement authorities to inte rvene in domestic disputes. The Police have also established a Sexual Domestic Violence Unit and have opened a Rape Suite for adult women and children victims. Special measures to address the sexual abuse of children in the Bahamas 177. In 2006 draft legi slation was prepared by the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs to prepare a comprehensive Child Protection Ac t to replace the Childrens and Young Persons (Administrat ion of Justice) Act. A working group was esta blished to review the draft copy of the legisl ation. With rising levels of sexual and other fo rms of violence against children, governmental and non-governmental agencies in the child protection and
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 62 development sector have increa sed efforts to build awareness and provide interventions. The Child Protection Act was pa ssed in 2007, but it has not yet been enforced. Article 6: Suppressing all forms of exploitation of women Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act 1991 178. This Act uses the term a ny person which could include male or female Section 3 in particular, defines rape as the act of any pers on not [less than] fourteen years of age having sexual intercourse with anothe r person who is not his spouse without th e consent of that person This definition recognizes that both males and female s can be victims of rape. Both men and women can therefore bring charges agai nst another person regard less of their gender for rape. 179. Section 5(1) of the Act also seeks to criminalize the abduction of an individual with the intent of causing th at person to cohabi t, marry or have sexual intercourse wi th another person. This provision aids in preven ting the trafficking in women an d children for the purposes of prostitution and sexual exploitation wh ich is a growing trend globally. 180. Section 7 imposes a term of imprisonment of eight years for individua ls found guilty of trafficking in persons unde r age 18 for prostitution or for becomi ng an inmate in a brothel. This Act supports the United Nations Conventions Ag ainst Transnational Or ganized Crime and the Protocols thereto (Traff icking in Persons Migrant Smuggling) that the Bahamas ratified in 2001. This Act also criminalizes prostitution in the Bahamas. The use of the term any person enables equality as it covers a wide ambit of persons who ma y be traffickers, victims of trafficking, prostitute s and sex workers. 181. Protection against sexual of fenses has also b een strengthened by th e enactment of an International Child Abduction Act, which give s effect to the HAGUE Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child A bduction and for related matters. Legislation on trafficking in persons 182. The Bahamas has enacted the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention and Suppression) Act, 2008. It came into force on the 10th December, 2008. The Government of the Bahamas has been pro-active and has collaborated wi th the IOM engaging in anti-tr afficking training efforts, the BWA, along with the Office of the Attorney-G eneral and Ministry of Legal Affairs, the Department of Immigration; and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been addressing the question of human trafficking throughout the country. 183. The Government of the Baha mas has established an intera gency Trafficking-in-Persons Task Force, which partic ipates in public conferences and anti -trafficking training. The taskforce posits that while reports of human trafficking in the Bahamas may be limited, the government has taken solid steps to prevent child labor and the commercial sexual exploitation
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 63 09-53532 of children by conducting outreac h campaigns and establishing a national hotline for reporting abuse. These initiatives support women w ho are victims of human trafficking. The Bahamian Governments position on women se lling sexual services 184. It is illegal under the Sexual Offenses Act for any women in the Bahamas to engage in any form of selling sexual services. Legal status of prostitution/pornography 185. Prostitution is illegal and is not considered a widespread problem throughout the country. The offence of pornography is defined in the penal code of the Bahamas as obscene publication, in section 510, Ti tle XXXI and punished by two years of imprisonment. The production, distribution and po ssession of child pornography is an offence under the Sexual Offences Act. Application of anti-violence la ws against women prostitutes 186. Sexual Offences Act and Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act protects prostitutes from rape. Sections 3 (a) and (b) wh ich define rape notes that it is an act of sexual intercourse a) without the consent of that other person; and b) with consent which ha s been extorted by threats or fear of bodily harm. Sanctions to protect prosti tutes from exploitation 187. The legal sanction for a person who is convicted of raping a prostitute is a minimum of seven years and a maximum penalty of life im prisonment, for especially heinous crimes. Prevailing social attitude s towards prostitution 188. Prostitution is not socially acceptable in the Bahamas. Violence against women 189. While there is no Article in CEDAW devo ted exclusively to violence against women, General Recommendation Number 19 outlines spec ific measures to be addressed by member States. In 1995 the Baha mas ratified the Inter-American C onvention on the Punishment and Eradication of Violence Agains t Women, known as the Conven tion of Belm do Par. The Beijing Platform for Action also outlines various measures to co mbat violence against women. The country has given specific a ttention to training, protection and support, in addition to public education.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 64 a) Training 190. Training to address violen ce against women has targeted key segments of the community, particularly the police who are expected to uphold the law and to serve, protect and reassure citizens. Consciousness raising ma terial and posters are readily available in police stations, health clinics and other public areas. Training has also been made availabl e to health and social services professionals. An im portant development has been the introduction of a mandatory component on domestic violence in the training program offered to new police recruits. Efforts are ongoing to continue providing th is training to serving officers. b) Protection and support services 191. Services to women who ar e victims of violence have improved during the period under review although there are still ch allenges. Women are now able to access assistance through the Department of Social Services Family Services Division and the Family Violence Unit. Both entities offer counseling for families and individuals and mediation services in matters referred by the courts. The Family Violen ce Unit is strategical ly located on the premises of the main public hospital in Nassau which facilitates easy access for persons who also require medical attention. 192. Women may also access support and accommodation through th e Crisis Centre of the Bahamas which receives an a nnual grant from the government. 193. The major challenge is to establish a network of shel ters to provide temporary accommodation to women and children who are victims of violence thr oughout the country. In 2003, the first Safe Hous e for Women (Temporary Shelter) fo r women was esta blished by the Nassau Chapter of Links Inc. This women s NGO, spearheaded this initiative with the assistance of the British American Insurance Corporation and the gove rnment. The Government of the Bahamas has made a comm itment to provide an annual gr ant of seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000.00) to assist th e home. This is an important start as most women who are victims especially of partner abus e, are reluctant to leave their circumstances because they have no place to go. c) Public education 194. The Government, through the BWA has orga nized public education programmes to raise public awareness of domestic vi olence. This has been done in partnership with the Zonta Club of Nassau, the Rotary Club of We st Nassau, the Domestic Violen ce Unit of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Crisis Ce nter to take the concerns of domestic violence into the community. This partnership, la unched in 2002 under the theme The Action Team, conducted community fora in New Providenc e. Professionals and trained la y persons organi zed initiatives to build public awareness as well as to share success stories of rehabilitating batterers. They also highlighted the roles of the church and the police an d the importance of sharing information on how people could a ccess help from various agencies.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 65 09-53532 Legislation on intentional HIV infection 195. The Government of the Baha mas has enacted specific legisla tion to deal with individuals who intentionally infect others with HIV/AIDS or those who engage in sexual intercourse with others knowing that they are infe cted without disclosing it to th em. This legislation enables an individual to bring criminal ch arges and assumedly civil charge s against someone for infecting them with HIV/AIDS. By so doing this law protects women in vulnera ble relationships who may be forced to have sexual intercourse agai nst their will with an infected partner. Laws on trafficking in women 196. This is covered by the new Trafficking in Persons (Prevention an d Suppression) Act, 2008 which came into force on the 10th December, 2008. Monitoring of immigration and emigration patterns 197. This is done by the Bahamas Department of Immigration. Laws for the protection against trafficking in women and girls 198. The Bahamas has enacted the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention and Suppression) Act, 2008. It came into force on the 10th December, 2008. Obstacles to eliminate prostituti on and trafficking of women 199. Police officers conduct ra ids on night clubs a nd brothels but the practice is likely to continue. Poverty is a significant obstacle to eliminatin g prostitution in the Bahamas. Legislation to penalize individuals invol ved in trafficking of women and girls 200. As pointed out earlier the Bahamas has enac ted the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention and Suppression) Act, 2008. It came into force on the 10th December, 2008. Article 7: The participation of women in public and political life Equal rights to vote and participation in elections 201. Women in the Bahamas have the right to vote in any elec tions and to participate in elections on equal terms with me n. Women in the Bahamas received the partial right to vote in 1961 and full voting rights in 1962. Since this time there have been no legal restrictions on voting imposed on either women or men. 202. International reports have i ndicated that There are no lega l impediments to participation by women in government and politics; however, women are underrepresented.iv In 2000, the
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 66 40-seat House of Assembly had 6 elected female members, incl uding the Speaker of the House, and 6 appointed female Senators, including the government leader in th e Senate. In 2008, there were only 8 elected female me mbers of the House of Assemb ly and 9 appointed female Senators. In 2009, the number of female Senators was reduced to 5 as a result of resignations. 203. With regard to the 20 02 general elections, of the 133 candidates c ontesting the elections for seats in the Parliament (Low er Chamber), 31 were women (2 3 per cent). Of that number, 8 were elected. As a result, in 2002 elections, women comprised 20 per cen t of the Parliament and 25 per cent of the Cabinet. They held positions such as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Secu rity (first time in the nations histor y), Minister of Fi nancial Services and Investment, Minister of So cial Services and Community Development and Minister of Transport and Aviation. Female s also comprised 43 per cent of the Senate (Upper Chamber) and the President was also a female. On 13 November 2001 Bahamians witnessed the appointment of the first female Governor-General in an i ndependent Bahamas, H.E. Dame Ivy Dumont. In 2008, women comprised 12 per cent of th e Parliament, 5 per cent of Cabinet and 56 per cent of the Senate. Womens participation in political parties 204. Women are eligible to be candidates for elected positions on the same terms as men in the countrys political parties: Fr ee National Movement (FNM), Pr ogressive Libera l Party (PLP), Bahamian Freedom Alliance (BHA), the Bahama s Democratic Movement (BDM) and Coalition for Democratic Reform (CDR). Public offices held by women 205. Women in the Bahamas hold and have held some strategic positions at the decision making level. However, there is still inequality in womens and mens particip ation in political and public life. For example, the post of Governor General was held by Dame Ivy Dumont, who was the first female Governor-G eneral of the Bahamas and sh e was appointed in 2003. This post is rarely held by women in the Commonwe alth and in the Caribb ean only 3 women have held that position. Women also hold power in a numbe r of important posts. In September 2006 these included: (1) President of the Court of Appeal of the Supr eme Court, (2) Governor of the Central Bank of the Bahamas, (3 ) Director General of Touris m, Financial Secretary; and (4) President of the Bahamas Chamber of Comme rce. In 2009 these figures changed to include a female Secretary to the Cabinet. 206. The current situation is an improvement on earlier years. For example, in 1990, only 4.1 per cent of the seats in th e national parliament were held by women. During the period under review, women in the Bahama s have made significant progres s at attaining public office throughout the country. 207. In 1992 female par ticipation in parliamentary assemblie s was 12.7% (10) and 87.3% male (69). For the same year, female participation in government was 30.3% (33) and 69.7% for males (76). Participation in lo cal representative bodies was 8. 6% (12) for females and 91.4%
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 67 09-53532 (127) for males. However, in 1997 the percentage of seats held by women in parliament doubled to 8.2 per cent when compared to the 1990 figure. This increase continued, reaching 15 per cent for the period 1998-2002 and 20 per cent for the period 2003-2007. 208. There has also been a steady increase in the number of women at the level of legislators, senior officers and managers. In 1993, womens participation at this level was 26 per cent, increased to 31 per cent in 2002 and further increased to 40 per cent in 2006. Efforts therefore need to be accelerated to achie ve the target of 30 per cent par ticipation at national level and 50 per cent at local government as recommended by CEDAW a nd the Commonwealth. Tables 16 and 17 below presents data on the number of women elected to polit ical positions during the period under review. Table 18 Women in Top Political Leadership Positions 1995 & 2006 1995 2006 Position Women Men Total Women Men Total Members of the Senate 3 13 16 6 9 15 Members of Parliament 4 45 49 8 32 40 Total 7 58 65 14 41 55 Members of Cabinet 3 10 13 4 12 16 Source: Bahamas Handbook and Businessm ans Annual, 1995 and 2006 Table 19 Women in Selected Public Or der and Safety Occupations, 2006 Positions Women Director of Legal Affairs 1 Registrar 1 Deputy Registrar 1 Stipendiary and Circuit Magistrates 10 Total 13 Source: Bahamas Handbook and Businessmans Annual, 2006 Public offices currently held by women 209. Elections in May 2007 re sulted in five wo men (12.2 per cent) being el ected to a 41-member Parliament (Lower House) and eight women (53.3 per cent) being appointed as senators to a 15-member Senate (Upper House).
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 68 210. An increased number of seats in Parliament have been held by women since the first woman was appointed to the Sena te in 1977. In 1993 women held only 4 per cent of the seats. This number doubled to 8.2 per cent in 1997. In th e 2002 elections, 20 per cent of seats (8/40) were held by women. In 2000, the 40-seat House of Assembly had 6 electe d female members, including the Speaker of the House, and 6 appoint ed female Senato rs, including the government leader in the Senate. Table 20 Womens Participation in Po litical Positions from 1993 to 2006 Areas of Participation (%) 199319972002 2006 Seats in Parliament (% of total) 48.219.6 26.8 Lower/Single House 4-15 20 Upper House/Senate -3831.3 43.8 Legislators/Senior Officials/Managers* 26-31 40 Mayor n/an/an/a n/a Sources: Human Development Reports 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2006 and [ www.bahamas.gov.bs .] 211. Additional research on womens political par ticipation is needed to fill data gaps. This should include: the percentage of female members of political parties; the nature of their participation; the measures taken by parties to increase womens membership; and the percentage of women th at stand as candidates for publicly elected bodies. Da ta has however been provided on the proportion of women to me n elected during the pe riod under review. The data in tables 21-22 below highli ght the gender inequalities for women in political participation in the Bahamas. Table 21 Women in Key Positions in Pa rliamentary Assembly by Position Position 1990 2002 WomenMen TotalWomenMen Total Prime Minister 0 1 1 0 1 1 Attorney-General 0 1 1 0 1 1 Other Ministers 0 13 13 4 10 14 Opposition Leader 0 1 1 0 1 1 Speaker of the House 0 1 1 0 1 1 Total 0 17 17 4 14 18 Source: Women and Men in CARICOM Member States: Power and Decision-Making 1980-2002, CARICOM 2003. p. 80.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 69 09-53532 Table 22 Members of Parliamentary As sembly by Position, 1990 and 2002 Position 1990 2002 Women Men Total Women Men Total House of Assembly (Lower House) 2 47 49 8 32 40 Government 1 30 31 8 21 29 Opposition 1 15 16 0 7 7 Independent 0 2 2 0 4 4 Senate (Upper House) 3 13 16 7 9 16 Total 7 107 114 23 73 96 Source: Women and Men in CARICOM Member States: Power and Decision-Making 1980-2002, CARICOM 2003. p. 80. Factors which prevent womens political participation 212. There are no legal ba rriers to womens participation in the political process and women are active as members and candidates of political parties. However, social, ec onomic and political barriers persist and impa ct negatively on womens particip ation in representational politics. Traditional gender roles gave wo men the major responsibility in the private (domestic) sphere and give men responsibility fo r activities in the public sphere. These gender roles pose challenges for women seeking public office as th ey have to ma nage the demands of political representation and leader ship as well as their domestic responsibilit ies. The following data demonstrates how gender inequa lity in managing household respons ibilities impacts women. 213. In the 1980s and 1990s, CARI COM states that 5 per cent of women in the Bahamas who stayed out of the labour mark et cited home duties as the reason, which reflected low participation rates for women.v Womens unequal participation in the labour market also impacts negatively on th eir financial capacity to run electio n campaigns. Politi cal parties have not introduced any kn own special measures to increase fi nancial support for fe male candidates. As a means to improve womens political participat ion in the Bahamas, the BWA along with the National Organization for Womens Associati ons in the Bahamas hosted a public forum and panel discussion in 2006 with several political candidates who were contesting national elections. Percentage of women part icipating in elections 214. For the 2007 General Elections 55% of persons who voted were women. In addition, women comprised (19/111) or 17 per cent of persons registered as political candidates.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 70 Womens participation in the design and im plementation of development planning at all levels 215. Women are involved at all le vels of development planning in the Bahamas, however the country must begin to qua ntitatively increase the numbers of women at all levels. Women in the Bahamas have come to outnumber men in the public serv ice. Therefore the Government of the Bahamas expects that very s oon women will become the domin ant gender in all aspects of development planning throughout th e country. See table 23 in the A nnex of this State report for additional data concerning wome n involved in the developmen t planning of the Bahamas. Womens participatio n in trade unions 216. Women do participate in trade unions but thei r participation is unequa l to that of males. The Bahamas has ratified 33 ILO Conventions and 30 of them are in force. Most of these ILO Conventions benefit women while others provide specific protection for the rights of women workers. Women are therefore ab le to access the general rights available to all workers. 217. The ILO database on trade unions in the Ba hamas reports that there are 57 active trade unions in the country. Analysis of the leadership at the level of President and General Secretary shows that of the 57 unions list ed, women accounted for 11.3 pe r cent of Presidents and 37.7 per cent of General Secretar ies. In 2009, a woman was elected as the head of the largest trade union in the Bahamas, name ly the Bahamas Hotel Catering and allied workers Union. Other unions led by women were nurses, airline and airport workers, electrical workers, teachers, tertiary education workers and workers in financial services. 218. The Education International Country Re port for the Bahamas (2 1 June 2007) provides insight into the situation of trade unions. The report notes that the Constitution provides for freedom of association and that Private and public sector wo rkers may form or join trade unions, except the police force, de fence forces, fire brigades and prison guards. The report further notes that Almost 25% of the work force consists of union members. Collective bargaining is used to ne gotiate wages, and the ri ght to strike is assure d. The government has the right to intervene in the national interest to assure essential serv ices before a st rike begins. Exposure to discrimination associated with po litical activities in womens organizations 219. There are no studies which explor e this type of discrimination. Involvement of womens orga nizations and policymaking 220. It should also be noted th at womens organizations and advocacy groups in the Bahamas are mobilized around specific policy issues to advocate for change. (e .g. domestic violence; gender inequalities in the Constitution etc.). The foll owing section highlights the achievements of womens organizations in the Bahamas for the period under review.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 71 09-53532 221. The National Womens Advisory Council in the Bahamas is an advisory body to the Minister with Responsibility for Womens Af fairs. The BWA hosts a monthly forum with representatives of non-governme ntal womens organizations. In cluded in this forum is the National Organization of Womens Associatio n in the Bahamas (NOWAB), which is an umbrella organization for wome ns groups in the country. Th e work of some of the NGOs represented at the forum impa ct policy-making while others are active in various issues affecting women. These organi zations include: The Crisis Ce ntre, The Anglican Church Women, The Baptist Womens Convention, Counc il for Women in the Bahamas, Political Parties Womens Associations and the Bahamas Girl Guides Association. 222. The Crisis Centre is the main agency advocating for polic y changes related to domestic violence. It provides serv ices to victims of phys ical, sexual and emotiona l abuse; advocates for legislative and societal prot ection of survivors and rais es public consciousness through education and information. The issues they address include: Do mestic Violence, Child Sexual Abuse, Child Physical Abuse, Incest, Rape, Sexual Harassment, Relationship Problems, Marital Problems, and Behavioral Problems. 223. DAWN (Developing Alternatives for Women Now) is a global agen cy that advocates on the impact of globalization, structural adjustment and poverty on womens lives. Their advocacy work seeks to reform in ternational institutions that c ontribute to poverty. They also work to ensure that government s fulfill international commitmen ts made at conferences, as well as to mainstream gende r in NGO advocacy initiatives. 224. Another influential NGO orga nization for women in the count ry is, the Womens Holistic Empowerment and Development Organization Ne twork (WHEDO) that attempts to address womens various needs for jobs food, clothes, housing, or furniture in the Bahamas. 225. The Bahamas has several fait h based institutions that have womens organizations. Among these are: Anglicans, Assemblies of God, Baptis t, Church of Christ, Ch ristian Science, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Free Evangelical, Methodist Presbyterian, Islami c, Jehovahs Witness, Bahai and Roman Catholic. Mo st if not all include women s organizations as well as organizations for girls (e.g. Girls Brigade and Gi rl Guides). There are also other churches such as: Abundant Life Bible Church the Bahamas Conference of SDA The fourth largest religious denomination of the Bahamas; the Bahamas Faith Ministries International; Calvary Deliverance Church and Galilee Ministries International.vi Article 8: International representation of wo men in international affairs of the Bahamas Representation of women at the international level 226. Women in the Bahamas have th e right to represent their Government at international level and to participate in the work of internationa l organizations on equal terms with men. While there are no records of women being denied representation on the basi s of their sex, the opportunity to represent their country or to par ticipate in the work of international
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 72 organizations is very limited. Bahamian women represent their country in numerous international meetings related to national development, intern ational concerns and promoting womens rights and other issues. Th ese include participation in m eetings of the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Organization of Ameri can States, as well as through the CARICOM Secretariat. Women in the foreign service 227. Women currently hold 58.3 per cent of the postings in Foreig n Service. Among these, Her Excellency Elma Campbell is the Bahamian Ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China, Dr. Paulette Bethel is the Permanent Representative to th e United Nations and Mrs. Gladys Sands and Katherine Forbes-Smith are the Consul Generals for the Baha mas Consulates in Miami, Florida and Atlant a, Georgia respectively. 228. Women also account for 3 of the 8 Diplomatic a nd Consular Representatives (37.5 per cent); 3 of the 11 Honorary Consuls (27.3 per cent); and there are no female Non-Resident Ambassadors. Table 24 below provides details of womens represen tation in the Bahamian Foreign Service. Table 24Number of Women and Men in Foreign Service as at 2007 Senior Posts / Positions Women Men Diplomatic and Consul ar Representatives 3 5 Non-Resident Ambassadors 0 3 Honorary Consul 3 11 Source: www.bahamas.gov.bs 229. Within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs women outnumbe r men by a tremendous margin. Women currently account for 107/ 135 positions, or 79.25 per cent of all employees within the Ministry. In addition, presently the Permanent Secretary, and 4/6, or almost 67 per cent of Heads of Department are women. These statistics clearly indi cate that women in the Bahamas and particularly throughout the Ministry of Fo reign Affairs have achie ved tremendous success within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and throughout the Baha mian Public Service. Therefore, due to the dominance of women in the Bahami an Foreign Service, and especially in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, th e use of temporary special meas ures to help address the low representation of women in Fore ign Service has not been necess ary for the period under review. Percentage of persons employed in international organizations 230. In the case of the Bahamas, successive governments have failed to take full advantage of increasing the numbers of Bahamians, both me n and women who b ecome involved in international organizations due to significant human resource and financial constraints.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 73 09-53532 Therefore, special efforts are needed to increas e the number of all Baha mians representing the Bahamas in international organizations. Article 9: Nationality and citizen ship of women and their children Legal rights in nationality 231. The Bahamian Constitution determines citizen ship and by virtue of Chapter II Section 6, provides that every person born in the Bahamas after 9th July 197 3 shall become a citizen of the Bahamas at the date of his/her birth if at that date either of his/her pa rents was a citizen of the Bahamas. Section 8 a nd 9 reads respectively: 232. Section 8. A person born out side the Bahamas after 9th Ju ly 1973 shall beco me a citizen of the Bahamas at the date of his birth if at th at date his father is a citizen of the Bahamas otherwise than by virtue of th is Article (Section) or Articl e 3(2) of this Constitution. 233. Section 9. (1) Notwithstandi ng anything contained in Arti cle 8 of this Constitution, a person born legitimately outside the Bahamas af ter 9th July 1973 whose mo ther is a citizen of the Bahamas shall be en titled, upon making application on his attaining the age of eighteen years and before he attains the age of twenty-one years, in such manner as may be prescribed, to be registered as a citizen of the Bahamas: Pr ovided that if he is a citizen of some country other than the Bahamas he shall not be entitled to be register ed as a citizen of the Bahamas under this Article unless he renounc es his citizenship of that other country, takes the oath of allegiance and makes and register s such declaration of his intent ions concerning residence as may be prescribed. Equality in marriage to non-nationals 234. Gender inequality exists in relation to the acquisition of Bahamian nationality where marriage is to a woman as opposed to a man. Section 10 of the Constitution of the Bahamas makes specific reference to a Bahamian man bei ng able to give Bahami an nationality to his wife by virtue of ma rriage, but a Bahamian woman does not give nationality to her husband. Mention of a Bahamian woman being able to give her husba nd nationality by virtue of marriage is altogether excluded from the Cons titution. However, the Government of the Bahamas has passed domes tic legislation which mi tigates the effects of the Constitution of the Bahamas. Equality in accessing rights of residence 235. The law does not discrimina te when persons ar e accessing spousal permits or in the acquisition of residency and employment.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 74 Equality in acquisit ion of passports 236. Women can obtain a passport or travel document without th e permission of her husband or male guardian. The application fo r a passport for a child less than 12 years must include his/her birth certificate, the mothers birth certificate and passpor t and the grandm others birth certificate. If the application is being done using the fathers docu ments the following are required: his birth certificate, th e parents marriage license a nd the fathers passport. If the child is between 12-17 y ears, the childs birth certificate must be accompanied by the mothers birth certificate and passpor t as well as the childs primary school record. Article 10: Ensuring equal rights for women in education Equal access to education 237. Legislation: The Education Act (1962) and its Ame ndment of 1996 provi de for universal and equal access to edu cation for men and womenvii. The Amendment also stipulates that students remain at school until the age of 16 years. These support CEDAW as well as the commitment of the Bahamas to the Millennium Declaration ( 2000) and the eight Millennium Development Goals. Consistent wi th this Act, education is ma ndatory for girls and boys aged 5-16 years. Equal rights to educ ation are also supported by spec ial measures. These include a Scholarship Plan for st udents of MICAL, and the Government s Scholarship Loan Plan. Section 4 of the Education Act also stat es that: It shall be the duty of parents of every child of compulsory age to cause him/her to receive full education suitable to his or her age. See table 25 in the Annex of this Stat e report for details on the national numbers of students in the Bahamian educational system. Mission statement 238. The mission of the Ministry of Education is to provide all persons in the Bahamas with an opportunity to receive an education that will equi p them with necessary be liefs, atti tudes, and knowledge and skills requi red for work and life in a democratic, Christian society. This mission statement envisions equitable access for males and females to th e educational process, adequate skills to provide for one s livelihood, and also infers et hics/moral training that speaks to self development and good citizenship. Philosophy 239. The philosophy of the Ministry of Education is, A better quality of life for all, encapsulates the concepts of equality as well as respect for the uniquenes s of the individual and the very best for the i ndividual and the nati on. It also articulates educ ation as the prime vehicle for attaining national goals sustainable developmen t, and the self actualization of individuals and a better life for all. This philosophy is also a call for co mmitment to the excellence by all
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 75 09-53532 those involved in the educational process. It is also an exhortation to good civic activities. It encourages people to treasure, promote and sustain what is re garded as Bahamian, but also reflects sensitivity in the wider world community. So, alt hough Bahamians share the basic value of the Commonwealth nationals nevertheless have, and treasure th eir uniqueness and all that constitutes what is truly Bahamian. Consistent with th ese legal and othe r provisions, equal rights to education are also supported by special measures. 240. Institutional provisions such as a network of preschool, primary, sec ondary and tertiary institutions funded by the Governme nt that provide education for males and females of varying ages, abilities and diverse need s. Government subventions are also provided to private schools to reduce fees charged to student s, which enables more girls and boys to attend private schools. Alternative educati on institutions are also avai lable to ensure that boys and girls at risk can complete their education. These include The YEAST Programme operated by an NGO and government institutions such as : PACE (Providing Access fo r Continuing Education); SURE (Success Ultimately Reassures Everyone); The Penn/ Pratt Centre for juveni les in detention. Special education facilities 241. Girls aged 12-17 years who beco me pregnant in school are able to continue their education through PACE. During the period 1993-2000, 757 teen girls were enrolled averaging over 180 girls in most years. Girls in the PACE Programme and the childs father, also have access to education on reproductive health and counseli ng, and referral services as PACE works in partnership with the Department of Social Services and th e governments FLHE Programme. After the birth of her chil d, a teen mother may be placed in a school, in a job or registered for skill training at the Bahamas Technical and Vo cational Institute (BTVI). PACE has been very successful in reducing the rate of second pregnancies among teen girls. Legal and other measures to promote equality exist and there is considerable equality in education in practice. However, there is need for addi tional legislation and a formal po licy to guarantee pregnant teen girls the right to continue thei r education and to facilitate th eir smooth return to the school system after the birth of their baby. Programme SURE an Alternate Education Programme 242. SURE (or Success Ultimately Reassures Ever yone) is an alternative programme for male students aged 13-18 years who are challenged by a traditional school cu rriculum. Established by the Ministry of Education in February 17, 1992, it serves at-risk male students who are referred by School Admini strators, Guidance Counselors, pers onnel at Special Services, or the Juvenile court. SUREs Miss ion is, To provide an envir onment conducive for alternative learning. Hence, modifying and changing stud ents behaviours and att itudes through a network of behavioural, health, education, physical, and religious education. 243. As an example of its scope and work, in 2002, there were 50 young men enrolled in the programme who participated in therapeutic sessions, academic courses, technical and
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 76 vocational studies (Auto Mechanics, Masonry, Ca rpentry, Electrical In stallation, and small appliance repairs); physical education, counseling and Beha viour Management. 244. The success of the Programme SURE also impacts on girls and the wider society as it supports an enabling environment for girl s and womens equality and security. 245. Facilities operated by NGOs also provide educational opport unities and services for both sexes and complement governme nt programmes. Among these are: Colby House which is linked to the Anglican Diocese a residential facility for teen boys which provide an opportunity to participate and to improve th eir education; the Central Gosp el Chapel; the Zonta Club of Nassau and the Bahamas Fam ily Planning Association. Literacy rates for males and females 246. The definition for literacy has not been established by the Bahamas. Therefore, the Government of the Bahamas promoted a Stakehol ders meeting for the Mi nistry of Education along with members of civil soci ety to establish nati onal criteria for establ ishing a benchmark for literacy throughout the country. Prior to this endeavour, the Bahama s Junior Certificate Examination (exit exam) has been taken as an indi cator or proof of litera cy. Details of literacy levels were not available for ea ch year but there is the recogni tion that many Bahamians are not functionally literate and need to possess adequate numer ic and literacy skil ls to improve their socio-economic status, to support their development and to make them globally competitive. The 2006 Human Development Repor t also notes that in the 199 0s, the youth l iteracy rate (% aged 15 -24 years) was 96. 5 per cent. The publication, Educ ation for All (2000), indicates that the overall literacy rate for males and females was 98.2 per cent. Alth ough data on the overall literacy rates for fema les and males aged 15-24 years, 25-44 years and 45 years and above was not immediately avai lable for each of the years under review, data for 2005 is presented below. Table 26 Literacy Rates by Sex (2005 estimates) Sex % Literate Male 96.7 Female 94.9 Total 95.8 Source: The Bahamas Facts and Figures
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 77 09-53532 The Bahamian educational system 247. Table 27 below shows that in rank order, the largest national enro lment of students in public schools was at the Primary level (25,991) the Junior level ( 7909), and the Secondary level (7591) respectively. In pr ivate/independent school s the ranking was highest at the All-Age level (10,661) followed by the Primary level (4,019). Table 27 Public School Enro llment by Island 2005/2006 School Type Island Preschool Primary JuniorSeniorSecondaryAll-Age Special School Total Abaco 0 1332 0 0 829 278 0 2439 Acklins 0 83 0 0 51 0 0 134 Andros 0 1170 0 0 989 0 0 2159 Berry Islands 0 0 0 0 0 180 0 180 Bimini 0 0 0 0 0 217 0 217 Cat Island 0 231 0 0 228 0 0 459 Crooked Island 0 27 0 0 39 0 0 66 Eleuthera 0 1052 0 0 856 588 0 2496 Exuma 0 443 0 0 434 83 0 960 Grand Bahama 0 4243 0 0 3720 30 113 8106 Inagua 0 0 0 0 0 30 0 30 Long Cat 0 0 0 0 0 226 0 226 Long Island 0 398 0 0 319 9 0 726 Mayaguan a 0 38 0 0 33 0 0 71 New Providenc e 171 16856 7907 7172 0 0 361 32467 Ragged Island 0 0 0 0 0 13 0 13 Rum Cay 0 0 0 0 0 17 0 17 San Salvador 0 118 0 0 93 0 0 211 Total 171 25991 7907 7172 7591 1671 474 50977 Source: Ministry of Education
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 78 248. Data disaggregated for each island shows that as expected the capital Nassau, which is located in New-Providence reco rded the highest enrolment figures of 32,467 and Grand Bahama, the industrial capital followed with 8,106. Rum Cay and Long Cay recorded the lowest with 17 and 9 respectively. 249. Within the Bahamas there are a total of tw o-hundred and forty-five schools. Of these One hundred and fifty-nine ar e public, while the other eighty-six are private institutions as exhibited in table 28 below. Table 28 Number of Schools All Bahamas School Type PublicPrivateTotal Preschool 3 3 Primary 96 33 129 Junior 7 2 9 Senior 7 0 7 Secondary 21 8 29 All-Age 15 35 50 Special School10 8 18 Totals 159 86 245 Source: Ministry of Education 250. Enrolment also varies acros s school districts. The highest student enrolment for public schools in rank order was: the Southwestern District (9,649), the Southeastern (7,753), the Northeastern (7,665), and Free port City on Grand Bahama (6 ,085). For these districts, enrolment in the primary, j unior and secondary schools was highest. For islands reflecting private school enrolment, New-Providence and Gr and Bahama displayed the highest figures. All-Age (1,622) and secondary school enrolment (991) on Grand Bahama recorded the highest numbers. New-Providence also recorded high en rolment figures for the primary and all-age schools. Curriculum in the school system Table 29Grade Repetition (%) (Currently Enrolled Students) PRIMARY STUDENTS SECONDARY STUDENTS Characteristic Primary Repeated N Primary Repeated Secondary Repeated N All Bahamas 13.9 94910.4 3.3 725
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 79 09-53532 School Type Government 14.9 75011.7 3.4 587 Private 11.5 1997.1 3 138 Gender Boys 14.3 49913.8 3.9 368 Girls 13.4 4507 2.6 357 Source: Ministry of Education 251. Female and male students are streamed according to their abil ity and not by se x. Results of the Bahamas Living Conditions Su rvey 2001 conducted by the Department of Statistics reveal that girls were excelling more than boys. The re petition rates were highe r for boys than girls from primary to secondary school. The proportion of boys repeat ing grades was also twice that of girls in primary scho ol (14 per cent vs. 7 per cent) and overall a notice ably larger percentage of students in Government primar y schools repeated than their cohorts in pr ivate schools. This indicated the need to improve education at primary levels for both sexes to reduce repetition and drop out rates in the future. Within seconda ry schools, no significant difference was found between Government and private schools with regard to repeatin g a class. Data on per capita expenditure for males an d females were not available. Teach ers, guardians/parents and Career Guidance Counselors encourage girls to pursu e traditionally male studies mainly at secondary, post-secondary and tertiary institutions. Special measures fo r boys at risk 252. Between 2000 and 200 6 a special pilot project was developed and im plemented to address the problem of boys underachieve ment in schools. It addres sed academic, as well as behavioural problems and provides valuable le ssons to ensure equa lity in education. Equality in subject choices in the education system 253. Girls and boys in the Bahama s are able to take the same subjects at all levels of the education system as the country is moving away for the tradition of sex stereotyped subjects for boys and girls in schools. Increa singly, both sexes are able to pursue the same subjects throughout their school life including institutions of higher learning. Girls are made aware of the range of subjects in the cu rriculum and are encouraged to pursue these by teachers and Career Guidance Counselors. As a result of these special in itiatives, girls are increasingly pursuing subjects that have tradi tionally been regarded as male subjects. These trends are also a response to changing demands of the labour market, and an increase in women teaching nontraditional subjects such as: electronics, engi neering, plumbing, and construction which are taught at the Bahamas Technica l and Vocational Institute (BTV I) Other nontraditional subjects increasingly being pursued by females include: ag riculture, science, me dicine, and law. More female students are taking these options because of th eir desire for high wage/high skill jobs, the demands of the job market and the prompting of many Guidance Counselors in schools.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 80 Despite equal access in princi ple, some girls do not pursue these subjec ts. Table 30 below highlights statistic s from the Ministry of Education. Table 30 Statistics from the Bahamian educational system Year Net Enrolment in Primary Education Net Enrolment in Secondary Education Ratio of Girls to Boys in Primary Education Ratio of Girls to Boys in Secondary Education 1999 0.96 1.21 2000 2001 2002 2003 89.9 0.97 1 2004 91.8 92 0.97 2005 91.1 89.9 0.97 1.01 2006 92.4 84.3 0.98 1.01 Source: Ministry of Education Subject choices in the school system 254. In the Bahamas, both sexes are able to pursue the same subjects throughout their school life including at institutions of higher learning. Girls are made awar e of the range of subjects in the curriculum and are encouraged to pursue subjec ts which interest them. These trends are also a response to changing demands of the labour ma rket, an increase in women teaching these subjects. They serve as models of alternativ e capabilities in non-tra ditional areas such as: electronics, engineering, plumbi ng, and construction and these s ubjects are taught at BTVI. 255. Table 31, below indicates th at there were 69,485 students enrolled in schools throughout the Bahamas in 2005/2006, unfortunately the da ta was not disaggregated based upon gender. Table 31 National Student Enrollmen t by School Type (2005/2006) School Type Public Private Total Preschool 171 (n) 171 Primary 25991 4019 30010 Junior 7907 156 8063 Senior 7172 939 8111 Secondary 7591 2661 10252 All-Age 1641 10661 12302 Special School 474 102 576 Total 50947(e)18538(e)69485 Source: Ministry of Education
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 81 09-53532 Table 32 Female Graduates at Primary, Seco ndary and College/University Levels Ministry of Education: Male vs female Enrolmen t Comparisons 1993/1994 to 2006/2007 No. Year The National Picture Public Schools Private Schools Male Female Male Female Male Female 1 1993/94 31,185 30,691 23,999 22,523 7,186 8,168 2 1994/95 31,174 30,354 23,633 22,210 7,541 8,144 3 1995/96 31,370 31,245 24,365 23,666 7,005 7,579 4 1996/97 n/a n/a n/ a n/a n/a n/a 5 1997/98 32,082 31,021 24,391 23,161 7,691 7,860 6 1998/99 32,901 31,679 25,014 23,672 7,887 8,052 7 1999/2000 33,503 32,633 25,060 23,803 8,443 8,830 Source: Ministry of Education 256. Table 32 above provides educational data for the period under review The table highlights that whereas there are more males enrolled at the national level and in public schools; enrolment is higher for females in private schools throughout the country. 257. Table 33 below provides a summary of ma le and female enroll ment in all schools throughout the Bahamian archipela go. The data confirms that mo re males were enrolled in schools across the islands, with the exception of Abaco and Eleu thera, where slightly more females were enrolled. Table 33 Student Enrollment by Sex fo r All Schools in the Bahamas School District Male Female (All schools) StudentsStudentsTotal % Male % Female Abaco 1125 1153 2278 49 51 North Island 893 841 1734 51.4 49.6 South Island 376 317 693 54.2 45.7 MICAL 265 254 519 51 49 Cat Island 386 335 721 53.5 46.4 Eleuthera 1202 1245 2447 49.1 50.8 Exuma 535 518 1053 50.8 49.1 Grand Bahama 4455 4100 8555 52 47.9 Long Island 356 337 693 51.3 48.6
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 82 Northeastern 3811 3676 7487 50.9 49.1 Southeastern 3938 3793 7731 50.9 49.1 Southwestern 4934 4393 9327 52.9 47.1 Total 22276 20962 43238 50.3 49.6 Source: Ministry of Education Female high school graduates 258. The table 34 below shows th at females represented more th an 50 per cent of secondary school graduates (12th Gr ade) during 1994-2003. Table 34 Percentage of Female Graduates (12th Graders) at Secondary Level, 2004-2007 TOTAL YEAR MALE/FEMALE No. of Females Percentage 1994 4169 2108 50.60% 1995 3931 2011 51.20% 1996 3914 2051 52.40% 1997 4112 2075 50.50% 1998 4195 2048 58.40% 1999 4008 2094 52.20% 2000 4186 2224 53.10% 2001 4227 2253 53.30% 2002 4257 2227 52.30% 2003 4148 2177 52.50% Source: Ministry of Education College level enrolment and graduates 259. At the College level, the data presented in this se ction of the State re port shows that there are more females than males enrolled in and graduating from academic, technical and vocational courses across various institutions. These include: th e Sojourner Douglass College, the University of Miami, and the Bahamas Baptist Community College. 260. Higher levels of female part icipation in all form s of education are al so reflected in the tables below. There are more females enrolled in and graduating from academic as well as Technical and Vocational courses. A similar trend is reported at co llege level. For example, at the Sojourner Douglass College, enrolment is typically 300 students of which 50 per cent are females. Sex disaggregated enrolment data of Bahamian students at the U of Miami for 19902004 is presented in table 35 It s hows and increasingly hi gher rate of enrolment of females than males at that location.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 83 09-53532 Table 35University of Miami: Number of Baha mian Females and Males Enrolled from 1990 to 2004. Year Males % Females% Total Spring 1990 22 73.30%8 26.70% 30 Fall 1992 13 48.14%14 51.85%27 Fall 1994 12 41.40%17 58.60%29 Fall 1996 13 34.20%25 65.80%38 Fall 1998 15 42.80%20 57.14%35 Fal1 2000 15 68.18%7 31.80%22 Fall 2002 7 41.17%10 58.80%17 Fall 2004 9 45% 11 55% 20 Source: University of the Miami 261. Tables 36-37 in the Annex of this State report present data from the Bahamas Baptist Community College and BVTI. Th is also shows a hi gher rate of enrolment of females in relation to males. The total enrolment for 2003 was 724 of which 618 student s (85 per cent) were females and 106 were male s (15 per cent). In 2004 there were 651 st udents of which 542 (83 per cent) were females. Table 38 The Bahamas Baptist Community College Enrolment by Sex and Division, Fall, 2003 and 2004 TOTALS 2003 2004 Business & Administration Males28 23 Females217 164 Humanities Males0 1 Females0 0 Natural Sciences Males5 7 Females16 18 Social Science Males8 14 Females23 45 College Prep Males65 58 Females316 274
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 84 Pre-School Males0 0 Females32 38 Short Certificate Program Males0 1 Females14 3 UWI Certificate Program Males0 5 Females0 0 TOTALS 724 651 Source: The Bahamas Baptist Community College 262. The data from tables 39-40 below shows that a significantly higher percentage of female students have graduated from COB opposed to male students. The percenta ges are even greater when compared with data from BV TI located in table 41 in th e Annex of this State report. Table 39The College of the Bahamas: Number of Students Enrolled by Sex, 19952004 Year Males FemalesTotal 1995 7372,081 2,818 1996 8132,293 3,106 1997 9202,600 3,520 1998 9342,819 3,753 1999 8982,648 3,546 2000 7862,392 3,178 2001 8522,548 3,400 2002 1,106 3,365 4,471 2003 1,088 3,546 4,634 2004 1,059 3,406 4,465 Source: The College of the Bahamas, Department of Records. Table 40The College of the Bahamas: Nu mber of Graduates by Sex 19902004 Year MalesFemalesTotal 1990 115 256 371 1991 100 280 380 1992 100 338 438 1993 134 322 456 1994 111 285 396 1995/6 81 323 404
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 85 09-53532 1996/7 136 423 559 1997/8 137 416 553 1998/9 142 453 595 1999/00128 398 526 2000/0193 300 393 2001/0268 339 407 2002/0396 319 415 2003/0480 342 422 Source: The College of the Bahamas, Department of Records. 263. In addition, female students have out-performed their male counterparts at the University of the West Indies, (UWI ) which is a regional University that is financed by me mber States of CARICOM. Table 42Registered Students and Percentage Women in the University of the West Indies, by Country of Origin, 1999/2000 Students Country of Origin Number Registered Per cent Women Antigua and Barbuda 76 58 Bahamas, the 136 71 Barbados 2,792 64 Belize 41 66 Dominica 45 67 Grenada 39 56 Guyana 29 38 Jamaica 6,928 71 Montserrat 18 50 St. Kitts and Nevis 70 53 Saint Lucia 197 74 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 112 63 Trinidad and Tobago 4,196 61 Total 14,679 67 Source: Caribbean Community Secretariat, Wome n and Men in the Caribbean Community, Facts and Figures: 1980-2001 p.70 Study grants and scholarships 264. Table 43 below shows that between 1993 and 2000/01, more wome n than men received government bursaries or scholarsh ips to study. However the tr end has been re versed since
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 86 2005/2006 indicating that men have b een the majority of beneficiaries. Th e second half of the table shows that most of the Teacher Education Gr ants go to females and this is not surprising as the majority of teachers are female. Table 43 Persons Supported under th e Government of the Bahamas Scholarships (1993-2001) SCHOLARSHIPS 1993/4 1994/5 1995/6 1996/7 1997/8 1998/9 1999/00 2000/01 Total Number of National Awards / Bursary 133 77 82 142 95 199 362 303 Males 50 30 25 44 29 68 92 87 Females 83 47 57 98 66 131 270 216 Total number of teacher education grants 547 365 314 271 282 250 337 377 Males 57 52 33 25 37 32 27 27 Females 490 313 281 246 245 218 283 317 Source: Ministry of Education Teacher education grant programmes 265. The majority of teachers are females and it is therefore not surprising that table above shows a significantly highe r rate of awards for females than males for nationa l bursaries and teacher education grants. The College of the Ba hamas has not yet gained university status. There are a number of programmes that provide e ducational grants for teachers to gain higher education. These include: A. The Governments Teacher Education Grant Programme that provide s financial support for eligible teacher trainees to pursue a Bachelor s Degree in Education at the College of the Bahamas and each year approximately 70 teach ers graduate from the programme and are employed in the educational system. B. The Future Teachers of the Bahamas Progra mme recruits and trains young, intelligent high school graduates to become co mpetent teachers. The programme started in 1995, has grown, and currently enrolls over 200 students/teacher-cadets annually, 80 per cent of whom are females and 20 per cent are males. The Ministry of Education reports that this is an important alternative to other career choi ces that are promoted by teachers, and that "Career Guidance Counselors" usually steer male st udents especially, into lucrative areas such as: medicine, law, science, engineering, and technology.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 87 09-53532 C. Bursaries: As an a dditional incentive, the Mini stry of Education also covers two-thirds of the cost for persons pu rsuing a Diploma or Bachelors Degr ee in Education at the College of the Bahamas. This helps to ensu re all teachers are certified. Because there are twice as many females as males in the teaching profession, mo re women than men benefit. During the last three years, the Ministry of Educ ation facilitated four hundred and ninety five teac hers (495) in their educational pursuits. D. The Career Path Programme also attempts to redress imbalances between men and women in educational institutions and offers incentives th at would attract men into this profession. The programme was instituted in July 1997, and resulted from collaboration between the Government and the Bahamas Union of Teachers. It is designed to attract a nd retain proficient male and female education gra duates and to keep excellent t eachers in the classroom. Although the profession of education has been feminized, this programme seeks to attract more men into teaching by offering a varied pay scale based on expertise and credentials. E. Females access to Grants: The Government has created an enablin g environment to support education and teacher tr aining which has benefited both wo men and men. However, womens dominance in the education field has placed them at an advantag e in using available opportunities. Education grants are awarded on th e basis of aptitude rath er than sex. Through this programme, the areas for teacher traini ng have expanded cons iderably to include: education, nursing, business, hospitality, natu ral science, health, sociology and languages. Scholarships for women to access advanced education 266. Opportunities for women to access advanced education ha ve also increas ed with the provision of scholarships for hi gher education locally and abro ad and increased funding for student loans. From 1992 to 1997/98, governme nts commitment to students assistance increased from $1.03 million to $3.24 million which excluded teacher education grants and tuition fees. In 2000, government also instituted guara nteed loans with a budget of $12 million. Most students receive loans or bonded scholarships and 78 pe r cent study in the USA. Women and men in adult education and literacy programmes 267. Adult Education and Literacy Programmes have existed sin ce 1953. To improve levels of literacy, the Government and se veral institutions offer programme s for both males and females, to address literacy problems. Several adult education programme s have been established to develop literacy skills among wo men and men so they are competent in reading writing and numeric skills. Some of these pr ogrammes are discussed below: a. The Lets Read Bahamas Progr amme is a non-profit adult lite racy programme, established in 1991 by the Rotary Club of East Nassau and became an indepe ndent body in 1993. It uses the Laubach Way which teaches reading to sixth grade level after which students move to Challenger or Voyager Reading le vels. Equal numbers of men a nd women participate in this programme and reports indicate that between 1991 and 2000, Project Read Bahamas tutored
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 88 500 adult students. Between 1994 and 2000, over 100 Bahamians had also been exposed to literacy experiences and many vol unteers had been trai ned. This programme has also resulted in a network of literacy tutors throughout the archipelago. b. Other adult educa tion programmes provide opportunities for continuing education and increase opportunities for impr oved mobility and fu rther education. Thes e include: the Basic Workers Programme and the Over Forty Programme, s ponsored by the College of the Bahamas through its Centre for Continuing E ducation and Extension Services. 268. Despite these programmes, some women are unable to access adult e ducation and literacy programmes for a number of reasons. Some face language barriers (e.g. non-English speaking immigrant women) while others are single heads of household who need child care but do not have access to res ources and support that would enable them to attend classes. There are also economic factors and some low-income women are unable to access the programmes because they lack money for transportation a nd to buy resource materials for study. Laws and policies to keep girls in school 269. The Education Act as previously discus sed makes education compulsory for students between the ages of 5-16 years. Truancy Offi cers of the Special Services Section in the Ministry of Education also m onitor, encourage and support ch ildrens school attendance. They report persistent tardiness, abse nteeism and liaise with schools, parents and the courts for such offences. The Lunch Progr amme of the Ministry of Social Services and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology also encour ages attendance by pr oviding free lunches to students in need of support. S ee table 44 in the Annex of th is State report which further highlights available programs offered by the De partment of Social Se rvices to help young children, especially female students. 270. The School Attendance Unit of the Ministry of Education has also introduc ed a Street Patrol, to discover the reasons why girls and boys are abse nt and implements a public awareness programme in the ma ss media to sensi tize the public about the problem of non-attendance. 271. The Ministry of Education has also compiled a list of th e most common reasons given for absenteeism in Primary, Junior High and Special Schools. In the Primary Schools the main reasons were: absence of bus fa re, clean uniforms or lunch mo ney. They also noted that students were regularly late for school, and some suffered from physical, mental and emotional abuse or had to baby sit siblings Analysis of these re asons shows that it is possible that girls are more likely than boys to miss school to babysit siblings because of socially ascribed gender roles. For Junior High School, the most common reas ons for absenteeism given were: (1) Lack of interest in school due to marijuana/alcohol abuse/fai ling grades, (2) Repeated suspensions, (3) Riding the bus during school hours, (4) Associat ion with other persons who do not attend school, (5) Sexual activity (female s), house breaking (males), (6) Lack of
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 89 09-53532 Supervision by Parents/Guardian s, (7) Parents/Guardians loosin g control of children and; and (8) Poor communication. 272. During the 2005/2006 school ye ar, 714 cases were received 674 absentee cases were totaled, 563 persons resumed a ttendance, and 40 cases were not investigated or could not be located. Absence of sex disaggregated data for responses limits the ability to determine which sex was most affected in junior high school. 273. The Ministry of Education has considered other approach es to address the issue of absenteeism, such as tracking and monitoring absences using administ rative software. Another option is to develop links with the College of the Bahamas to expand training for school attendance officers. There were al so plans to attend an internati onal conference on this issue. Making these plans gender sensitive w ould help to ensure that specif ic strategies are targeted at girls and boys to ensure that absenteeism is re duced for both sexes. 274. In Special Schools, the most common reasons for absenteeism were: pa rents keeping their children at home because they were embarrasse d by them or believed th at their children could not accomplish anything because of the childs disabilities. Collecting sex disaggregated data, would help to determine the sp ecific education needs of girl s and boys who are disabled or challenged. Education programmes for young female school dropouts 275. Girls who leave school befo re attaining the required school age are able to access a number of alternate opportunities for study. Gove rnment maintained sc hools offer courses leading to the Bahamas Junior Certificate Examinations (BJC) and the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary E ducation (BGCSE) at evenin g institutes. Many private institutions/agencies also offer similar opportunities to enable students to complete their education. In addition, Techni cal and Vocational courses are of fered at BVTI for males and females who wish to upgrade thei r skills or learn a trade. Th ere is an open door policy and persons only need to purchase ma terials to participate. Anot her option is th e Continuing Education Programme (College of the Bahamas) which offers litera cy courses as well as others for self-interest. Generally, mo re girls than boys register fo r education upgrades. The dropout rate for females at all levels of education is 0.2%. Reasons given for females discontinuing their education include: lack of funds, family c onstraints, and lack of success at studies. Table 45 Reported Reasons for Un-enr olment (ages 5 16 years) Reason Given Total Boys Girls Need to work 0 0 0 Does not want 43.8 46.5 35.4 Pregnancy 2 0 8.5 Chronic Illness 11.3 0 47.6
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 90 Completed 12.2 16 0 Other 17.3 22.7 0 Too Young or Hasnt Started 13.3 14.8 8.5 Not Stated 18 13 5 Source: The Department of Statistics the Bahamas Living Conditions Survey 2001 Student/Teacher ratios 276. Table 46 below shows that 67% of all teachers are employe d in public schools and 32.3% in private schools. The sex dist ribution of teachers across the various schools is also very interesting. The data shows that in rank order, most male t eachers are employed in secondary public schools or private All Age schools. Most female teachers are employed in Primary public schools and private All Age schools. 277. All schools in the Bahamas are co-educationa l and at present the ratio of te achers to students is 1:16. In priv ate schools the teacher-student ratio is 1:13. The per capita expenditure for male and female students is si milar and sex is not the cause of differentiation as this would be in opposition to the philosophy of the Ministry of Education. Table 46 Student/Teacher Ratios in the Bahamas CATEGORY TEACHERSTUDENTRATIO PUBLIC 3,184 50,332 1:16 PRIVATE 1,394 18,021 1:13 TOTAL 4,578 68,353 1:15 Source: Ministry of Education Table 47 National Summary Number of Teachers by Sex and Level Public Private School Type MalesFemalesMalesFemalesTotal Preschool 0 15 (n) (n) 15 Primary 129 1305 39 332 1805 Junior High 114 369 7 18 508 Senior High 167 332 20 40 559 Secondary 272 434 85 162 953 All-Age 33 68 212 661 974 Special School 28 51 0 11 90 Total 743 2574 363(e)1224(e) 4904(e)
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 91 09-53532 TOTALS 3,317 1,587 4904 % 67% 32.30% Source: Ministry of Education 278. Tables 48-51 in the Annex of this State re port further highlight the student/teacher ratios throughout the Bahamas. Male/Female ratios at the College of the Bahamas 279. Table 52 below shows that se x stereotyping in subject areas is undergoing a transition. Of the total of 195 lecturers, 61.5 per cent are females an d 38.5 per cent are male but the trend varies across subjects. Nursing is still 100% female which there is more equality in the number of Social of Natural Science teachers: there ar e more males (53 per cen t) and females (43 per cent). More females have also been appointed to the level of senior lecturer (37% male, 63% female). Table 52Number of Female and Male Teachers in th e Faculties of the College of the Bahamas (2002-2003) School Males Females Total Communications and Creative Arts 5 14 19 English Studies 4 17 21 Social Studies 9 10 19 UWI LL.B Programme 6 2 8 Education 4 2 6 Business Studies 14 16 30 Hospitality & Tourism Studies 5 8 13 Natural Science & Environmental Studies 19 17 36 Nursing & Allied Health Profession 0 18 18 TOTAL 66 104 170 Source: Dr. Chipman-Johnson at th e College of the Bahamas 280. Table 53 below shows a dominan t male leadership in top positi ons (four of five Presidents have been male). However a fema le President served for 16 y ears, allowing her to make a monumental contribution to th e development of the College. The present President of the College is a woman. 63 per cent of the women were Directors and 80 per cent were Deans.viii
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 92 Table 53 Number of Female and Male Administ rators at the College of the Bahamas 1974-2003 Title Male Female Total Principal/President 4 (80%) 1 (20%)+ 5 Vice-President 0 4 (100%) 4 Executive Vice-President 1 1 2 Vice-President (from 1995) 4 (40%) 6 (60%) 10 Bursar 1 0 1 Deans 2 (29%) 8 (80%) 10 Chairpersons *38 (48%) *43 (52%) 82 Coordinators 2 (29%) 5 (71%) 7 Provosts/Coordinators of centres 1 3 4 Financial Controller 1 1 2 Assistant Vice-President 1 1 2 Registrar 2 0 2 Assistant Registrar 0 1 2 Directors 9 (37%) 15 (63%) 24 Source: Dr. Chipman-Johnson at th e College of the Bahamas +This President served for 16 years. *Some individuals have served more than once, *Once person served as acting director for three weeks. Table 54Principals by Sex and Year in Mini stry of Education Schools, 1993-2004 YEAR MALE % FEMALE% TOTAL % 1993/1994 73 53.3 64 46.7 137 100 1994/1995 70 50.4 69 49.6 139 100 1998/1999 62 43.4 81 56.6 143 100 2000/2001 59 59 87 59.6 146 100 2001/2002 61 41.5 86 58.5 147 100 2002/2003 57 38.8 90 61.2 147 100 2003/2004 52 32.7 107 67.3 159* 100 Source: Planning Unit *Includes: Pre-schools and Special Schools. 281. From 1993-1995, males dominated the executi ve landscape of Gove rnment schools; from 1998 to the present, female s held more positions as Principals than men. In primary and junior schools, women outnumbered men 3:1 and at the se condary level 2:1. However, at the College level, there were more women in posit ions of Vice-President and below.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 93 09-53532 282. In 2006, of the total number of school principals, 67.3 per cent were women and 32.7 per cent were men. Several women serve as Head of De partment but this position is conferred annually and is not a substantive post. Women have made tr emendous contributi ons to tertiary education. Some of the women at the College of the Bahama s have served on government boards and committees such as the Government Loan Scholarship Co mmittee, the Prison Commission, and the Business Commission. Gender equality in access to fami ly life & health education 283. In principle, females and males have equal acce ss to family planni ng information and services throughout the Bahamas. However, in practice, family planning services are accessed almost exclusively by females. Several related agencies coll aborate to provide reproductive health education in schools and community-based groups. Am ong these are: the Family Planning Unit; School Health Services, Adolescent Health Ca re, HIV/AIDS, Research Unit, and the Bahamas Family Planning Association. The Male Health Initiative Arm of MCH/FP is involved in outreach activ ities to educate males about reproductive health. 284. The curriculum of the FL HE Programme enables teen boys and girls in Government schools to learn about the impact of early sexual activity, have access to in formation on methods of birth control and advice on the overall be nefits of abstinence. Girls in sports and physical education 285. Girls have the same opportuniti es as boys to partic ipate in sports and physical education in schools. There are no regulations that prevent or prohibit their participation in these areas. There are also no dress regulations that impede the full participation of girls and women in sports. While it is culturally accep table for women to participate in all sports, there are still traces of sex stereotyping in sports pursued by boys and girl s. For example, fewer girls play cricket and soccer (football), how ever women in the Bahamas ha ve become famous for their achievements in representing th e Bahamas in track and field and swimming internationally. In addition, sports facili ties are however equally accessible to both men and women, and boys and girls. Research on the achievement of girls in co-educational sch ools in comparison to single sex schools 286. No research has been conducted in this area as there are no single sex schools maintained by the Government or private groups in the Bahamas. Career and vocational guidance 287. Women and girls who venture into non-traditi onal fields do encounter obstacles Career and vocational guidance is av ailable to inform girl s in schools of the full range of vocational opportunities available to them. In formation is provided to them by the Ministry of Educations
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 94 School Guidance Counselors. Information is al so shared through Car eer Fairs held during Career Week at high schools. Girls are encour aged to pursue post-s econdary courses in nontraditional skills which are available at post-secondary institutions such as BTVI. 288. Educators have however iden tified the need to have fema le instructors to encourage females in non-traditional areas of work. Seve ral strategies have been recommended by stakeholders to address sex stereotyping a nd to encourage girls to enter non-traditional occupations. These include: exhi bitions, establishment of clubs information and exposure to non-traditional areas and school-t o-work programmes. There has also been the suggestion to organize a special day in schools devoted to nontraditional jobs. Politi cal party manifestos have also included measures to address these obstacles and ex amples can be found in the Progressive Liberal Partys OUR PLAN (2002) and the Free National Movement: Manifesto 92. Female access to grants 289. The Government has created an enabling environment to support education and teacher training which have benefite d both women and men. Women ha ve, however, dominated in the education field. Education Grants are awarded on the basis of aptitude rather than sex. Through this programme the areas for teacher traini ng have expanded considerably to include: education, nursing, business, hospitality and na tural science, health, sociology and languages. 290. Womens opportunities for advanced education ha ve also increased with the availa bility of scholarships for higher education locally and abroad as well as increased funding for student loans. From 1992 to 1997/98, governments commitm ent to students assi stance increased from $1.03 million to $3.24 million which excluded t eacher education grants and tuition fees. Article 11: Ensuring equal ri ghts for women in employment 291. The Industrial Relations Acts comprise the main laws that govern the operation of trade unions. Recruitment and employment practices 292. There are no known legally sa nctioned distinctions in recruitment and employment between men and women in the Bahamas. Legislation to eliminate discrimina tion in employment and wages 293. Legal reform has promoted equality in employment and seve ral laws have been reviewed and new legislation has been enacted during the period under review. The Baha mas has also ratified several international agreements including several ILO Conventions, but faces challenges to enforce them effectively.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 95 09-53532 294. Legal reform that supports Article 11 of CEDAW has also resu lted in an increase in maternity leave benefits from ei ght to twelve weeks. There has also been enactment of legislation to ensure equal pay for equal work, the grantin g of paternity leave, the establishment of minimum wages, legislation to address unfair dismissal because of pregnancy or a reason related to her pregnancy as well as the protection of wo men from hazardous work. These reforms were the result of extensive dialogue with many stakeholders: trade unions, NGOs, relevant government agencies and employers. 295. The Employment Act (2001) establishes equa lity for all Bahamian citizens. Section 6 states that, No employer or person acting on beha lf of an employer shal l discriminate against an employee or applicant for employment on th e basis of race, creed, sex, marital status, political opinion, age or HIV/AIDS status by :(a) refusing to offer employmen t to an applicant for employment or not affording the employee access to opportunities fo r promotion, training or other benefits, or by dismissing or subjecting the employee to other detriment solely because of his or her race, creed, sex, marital status, political opinion, age or HIV/AIDS status; (b) paying him at a rate of pay le ss than the rate of pay of a nother employee, for substantially the same kind of work or for work of equal value performed in the same establishment, the performance of which requires subs tantially the same skill, effo rt and responsib ility and which is performed under similar workin g conditions except where such payment is made pursuant to seniority, merit, earnings by qua ntity or quality of production or a differential based on any factor other than race, creed, sex, marital stat us, political opinion, age or HIV/AIDS status; (c) Pre-screening for HIV status. 296. This Act supports equality in remunera tion for work done by both men and women, prevents discrimination in empl oyment on the basis of sex and secures the rights of men and women infected with HIV and AIDS in securing employment. Percentage of women in the total waged workforce 297. In 2005, women represented approximately 50.5 per cent of the total waged workforce. Data from the Department of Statis tics reveals that fema le participation rate in the labour force has increased from 68.2 per cent in 1996 to 71.1 per cent in 2004. (Please see table 10 in this State report). Percentage of part-time and full-time workers 298. Details of the waged workforce in rela tion to age groupings and part-time/full-time workers were unavailable.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 96 Women in piecework 299. Craft workers are included among female wo rkers engaged in piece work. Details on their conditions of work were unavailable. Professions dominated by women or by men 300. Teaching and nursing are two professions in which women dominate. Men dominate in the Police, armed forces, fire brigade, correctional services as well as in constructi on. (Please see tables 13-14 in this State re port which exhibits gender differ ences in occupational groups). Women dominated in the follo wing occupations: pr ofessionals/technicians and associate professionals (23% vs. 5%); cl erks (23% vs. 3%); and servic e workers (28% vs. 15%). There was equity among legislators an d senior officials (7% vs. 8%). Men dom inated in skilled agricultural and fishery workers (0% vs. 5% male s); Craft, and related workers, plant workers plant and machine operators and assemblers (33% males to 3% females) and, in elementary occupations (21% males to 15% females). Apprenticeships 301. This has been proposed by educators under the Education Section of this report. Equal pay legislation 302. Equal pay legislation has been enacted as part of th e Bahamas Employment Act 2001. Work-related benefits 303. The National Insurance Act governs social se curity benefits and es tablishes the National Insurance Board and the contributions that employers and employees should pay to the National Insurance Fund. Provisions for benefits include: social insurance for employed, selfemployed and voluntary workers. Social insurance is provided by the National In surance Fund and covers sickness, maternity l eave, work related injuries, old age benefits, disability, death benefits and survivor benefits. Widows aged 40 years and over receive survivor pensions and children who are minors, orphans or children over 21 years, in fulltime education. Other benefits include funeral gran ts, survivor assistance a nd unemployment assistance. 304. All women are cove red by this legislation but they would have to make voluntary contributions if they ar e not working for an employer, as would any other i ndividual. Wives do benefit from pension plans but the law does not explicitly state th at the reverse is the same.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 97 09-53532 Unpaid domestic work 305. There are no provisions to va lue unpaid work, in calculating national income statistics and GNP. Most of this is done by women in the home; unpaid work does not currently count towards womens eligibility for retireme nt and other work related benefits. Mandatory retirement age 306. The mandatory retirement age for both male and female workers in the Bahamas is 65 years. The voluntary (early) retirement age for both sexes is between ag es 60-64 years. Men and women are expected to contribute th e same amounts towa rds their pensions. Social security legislation 307. Legislation exists as pr ovided by the National Insurance Act which is discussed in paragraph 306 of this report. Maternity leave and employment security 308. Employment security is not affected by pregnancy under the Maternity Leave Law. Maternity leave provisions 309. The Bahamas has a comprehens ive system of maternity leave with pay. Section 17 and 18 of the Employment Act affords a wo man maternity leave at least one week prior to delivery and up to eight weeks after delivery. It allows for a total peri od of not less th an twelve weeks maternity leave. The Act also provides additional protection to pregnant women from work that is hazardous. Maternity leave provides for a minimum of eight leave to a maximum of 16 weeks. Illness related to pregnancy in the firs t 28 weeks is usually deemed as a gynaecological problem and covered as sick leave. Women who have complications resulting from the confinement for pregnancy may al so apply for an additional l eave for up to six weeks. Women can also use vacation leave as long as the to tal period away from work does not exceed 16 weeks. Pregnant officers with more that five years service are also eligible for an additional six weeks at half-pay as l ong as the total period away doe s not exceed 16 weeks. 310. The limitations imposed on the granting of maternity leave are (1) that the employee be employed for at least one year an d (2) that she is only eligible for maternity leave by the same employer once every three (3) years. To be eligible for maternity leave benefits from National Insurance, women must have 40 weeks paid contributions. Wome n would not be eligible for paid maternity leave if they be come pregnant twice in three y ears, which is not uncommon in several Commonwealth Caribbean States.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 98 Parental leave 311. Fathers are eligible to receive one weeks family-related leave. Dismissal of wome n for pregnancy 312. The Employment Act precludes the dismissal of an employee for becoming pregnant or for any reason connected with pregnancy. Paid leave 313. Both males and females are eligible for pa id vacation leave after a specified period of employment which is us ually one (1) year. Provisions for flexib le working patterns 314. The Public Se rvice and some private sector entities ha ve policies that provide for flexi-time. Marital status and job security 315. This does not apply as marital st atus does not affect job security. Health and safety laws 316. The Health and Safety Act 2001 supports th e governments ratification of ILO Convention 155. Section 18 of the Health and Safety Act (2001) states: "There shall be an advisory Council for Health and Safety wh ich, subject to the Act, shall be responsible for such matters as the Minister may prescribe. The Coun cil shall consist of a Chairman appointed by the Minister and not less than ten other persons of whom three shall be a ppointed by the Minister after consultation with such organizations representing employers as he considers appropriate; three shall be appointed by th e Minister after consul tation with such orga nizations representing employees as he considers approp riate; one shall be appointed by the Minister of Health; one shall be appointed by the Minist er responsible for Building Regul ations; one shal l be appointed by the Director of Fire Services ; and the inspector de signated by the Minister of Labour. The Health and Safety at Work Act (2002) also re quires the establishment of Health and Safety Committees in any place of empl oyment with more than 20 persons. Women are also protected from hazardous work during pregnancy by the Employment Act 2001. Restrictions on womens employment 317. There are no legal restrictions on the employment of women.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 99 09-53532 Child care facilities 318. There are several child care facilities available for worki ng parents. In 1999 there were over 1296 pre-schools catering to ch ildren three to five years in 1997/1998. Thes e included 489 public and 807 private institutions This number has since grown as greater emphasis has been placed on Early Childhood Development. Legal measures regulating the operat ion of early childhood facilities 319. The Early Childhood Care Act (2004) addresse s the regulation of day care centres and pre-schools. Percentage of employer s providing child care 320. Research is needed to determine the number of employers providing these services and to ascertain the number of children aged 3-6 years in child care. After-school care 321. In 2005, the St Andrew Pr esbyterian Kirk opened an afte r school care programme for children supported by the Ministry of Social Developm ent. It offered tuto ring, counseling, and recreational activities as well as spiritual instruction to the students who participated in the programme. The programme operated from 3: 15-6:00pm following regular school hours (9-3pm). The Cancer Society of the Bahamas also operated an after school programme for children whose parent ar e financially deprived. Research is needed to provide more detailed information on the extent of after care services available across the Bahamas. Breastfeeding policy for the workplace 322. The Bahamas has not ra tified ILO Convention 183 and Recommendation 191 the Maternity Protection Convention which supports breastfeeding for wo rking mothers. The countrys maternity leav e legislation and its HIV and Infa nt feeding policy both create an enabling environment to support ratification. Ratification woul d strengthen the principle of daily breastfeeding breaks for working women. Women and trade unions 323. The Government enacted the Fair Labour Standards Act (2001) which guides the operations of trade unions. As in dicated in Article 7 and Article 11 of this report approximately 25 per cent of the workforce is unionized. The pe rcentage of women who are members of trade unions is to be ascertain ed by further research. However, womens level of unionization in the areas of the labour market that they dominate can be estimated by the information previously reported.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 100 Sexual harassment measures 324. Chapter 99 of the Statute Laws of the Bahamas, The Se xual Offenses Act, provides protection against sexual harassment and violence against wo men in the workpl ace. Section 26 outlines the conditions and the pe nalties which is a fine of fi ve thousand dolla rs and/or two years imprisonment. 325. The Matrimonial Causes Act 1979 allows a spouse injunctive proc eeding against another spouse for harassment. However, this Act gives the Court a dditional powers in case of a criminal assault upon the wife. Section 6 reads: 6. (1) If a husband shall be co nvicted summarily or otherwise of an aggravated assault upon his wife, the court or magi strate before whom he shall be so convicted may, if satisfied that the future safety of the wife is in peril, and with the consent of the wife order that th e wife shall be no longer bound to cohabit with her husband. (2) An order under subsection (1) sh all have the force and effect in all respects of a judicial separation on the ground of cruelty and such orde r may further make pr ovision in respect to: (a) the maintenance of the wife; (b) the maintenance and custody of any children of the family, as if such order were an order being made by the court or the ma gistrate in or ancillary to proceedings for judicial separation under this Act or proceedings pursuant to sec tion 3 of the Matrimoni al Causes (Summary jurisdiction) Act. Article 12: Ensuring equality for women in access to health care Measures to eliminate discriminati on against women in health care 326. Womens health receives spec ial attention especial ly in the area of reproductive health services which is quite compre hensive. This includes informat ion on reproductive health as well as the role of me n in this process. The Government has also incorporated the FLHE Curriculum into all grade levels of school from grades one to twelve. Efforts to ensure that women have equal access to health care services 327. There are no legislative provisi ons that specifically ensure equality in access to health care. However, the policy framewor k is being strengthene d to provide health care to all male and female citizens using a life cycle appr oach. Women and men have equal access to vaccinations, immunization and access to pharmaceutical drugs. Women are however underserved in accessing emerge ncy contraceptives an d natal care during and after abortions. Services for pre-menopausal and menopausal women are inadequate.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 101 09-53532 328. Rural women and women in some family islands are not able to acce ss health services in their respective communities to meet their needs due to numerous islands being under populated. Pre-natal health care 329. The percentage of women r eceiving prenatal care improved during the period under review as a result of improved infrast ructure and programmes previous ly mentioned. Ministry of Healths statisti cs show that in 1999 the average number of antenatal visits per client was 7.3 and the per cent of ante-natal clients seen by 16 w eeks gestation was 40.0 per cent. This range was between 6.6 and 6.9 for the period 1990-1998. Antenatal and postnatal reproductive health services 330. These services are available free of charge in all gov ernment clinics. Physical exams, including pap smears, STI screening and breast exam s are also offered in addition to a variety of family planning methods. Ef forts have also been made to increase acce ss to other reproductive health services. There is now a full time fam ily planning coordinator who oversees family planning in al l government clinics acr oss the Bahamas. Clin ic hours have been extended to accommodate persons who must access services in the evening. The Male Health Initiative, a component of the Maternal and Child Health Unit of the Mi nistry of Health was established, to address the concerns of men. The programme also aims to encourage men to take responsibility for their re productive health, encourages th em to be supportive of their partners and to play an active role in the health of their children. 331. Collaboration between the Bahamas Family Planning Association a nd the Government is focused on implementing an Adolescent Reproductive Health Programme to reduce Teen Pregnancy and STDs in adoles cents. The initiative was spons ored by the Japanese funding agency through the Inter-American Development Bank and a quarter of a million US dollars ($250,000) was provided inclusive of materi als and salaries fo r project personnel. Nutrition support for pregnant and lactating women 332. Comprehensive Perinatal services with routine iron, folic acid and multivitamin supplements are provided free of charge to clients on the islands through both public and private facilities. However th e Ministry of Hea lths (MOH) data shows that people undernourished as a percentage of the total population (2001-2003) was seven per cent. Poor nutrition of the mother also af fects the young. MOH data show that the per centage of live born babies with low birth we ight (2,500g) was 10.4 per cent. Mini stry of Healths statistics on breastfeeding trends also show areas for con cern. The percentage of mothers exclusively breastfeeding at discharge from hospital was 38.0 per cent. At th ree months it was 8.5 per cent and at one year 4.5 per cent. This underscores the need to promote breastfeeding and to facilitate breastfeeding in the workplace as discussed under em ployment conditions for women workers.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 102 333. MOH data also show ed that the major nutri tion related conditions in the age group 15-64 years were hypertension (13.0 per ce nt) and obesity (48.6 per cent). Infrastructure: organi zation and facilities 334. As a mid-island archipela go, successive Bahamian governme nts have been challenged to implement effective health ad ministration policies and improve physical and socio-economic facilities to ensure that citizens in all the is lands can access health car e services even those with the smallest popul ations. The Constitution does not addr ess the right to health care, but public policies provide a fully subs idized, free pre-natal, neo-natal and postnatal care as well as reproductive health services in public facilities. 335. Health infrastructure has e xpanded during the period under re view. Ministry of Healths statistics indicate that in 2000 there were 5 hosp itals with 1,070 beds pr oviding a ratio of 35.1 per 10,000 population. There were 55 Health Centres: 9 (New Providence), 5 (Grand Bahama) and 41 (Family Islands). The tota l number of satellite clinics fo r all of the Bahamas was 59. The percentage of the governme nts Budget for Health (99/2000) was 14.8 per cent. The per capita expenditure on hea lth expenditure was $445. 336. There has been an increased number of polic linics as well as the construction, renovation, and expansion of other health care facilities. This has incl uded the mental hospital and a geriatric hospital located on Ne w Providence as well as a gene ral hospital with comprehensive essential obstetric care capability located on Grand Bahama. With expanded polyclinics, maternal and child health clin ics, and satellite clinics dist ributed at strategic locations throughout the islands, access to health care has improved. 337. Health personnel supporting the delivery of Health in 1999 were: A. Physicians: 495 and the rate per 10,000 population was 16.6. B. Registered Nurses in the public sector: 729 and the rate per 10,00 0 population was 24.4. C. TCNs in the public sector: 466 and the rate per 10,000 population was 15.6. 338. Public health programmes ar e geared toward improving the he alth of women, children and the elderly and include preventive as well as r outine medical care. The main initiatives are: A. The Maternal and Child Health Program me which includes: Reproductive Health, School Health, Lactation Mana gement, Adolescents, Susp ected Cases of Abuse and Neglect (SCAN), and Nutrition Programmes; B. Expanded Programme on Immunization (w hich includes immu nization of women against, tetanus, rube lla and hepatitis B);
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 103 09-53532 C. Communicable Disease Programme; D. Chronic Non-communicable Disease Programme. Female mortalit y and morbidity 339. Data from the Ministry of Health (2000) notes that the main causes of mort ality for women in rank order were diseas es of the heart, (117.8/ 100,000); malignant neoplasms (71.9/100,000); AIDS (59.2/100,000) Diabetes (36.3/100,000) and inju ries 31.8/100,000). For men the rating was: AIDS (102.9/100,000); Diseas es of the heart (117. 1/100,000); Malignant neoplasms (71.1/100,000); Injuries (113. 0/100,000) and Diabet es (32.5/100,000). 340. Hypertension and obesity ar e major causes of morbidity fo r women. As Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the greatest disease burden in terms of morb idity and mortality for men and women, the Government intr oduced the Chronic Non-co mmunicable Disease (CNCD) Programme which has four functional units whic h focus on: primary and secondary prevention, management, and surveillance of cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, cancer and asthma. Maternal mortality 341. The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) ad justed was 60 per 100,000 live births in 2000. According to the World Health Organization (2006) Report, cases of maternal mortality have been on a steady decline and th e country is projected to re ach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets by 2015. However, there are still considerable challenges but we must move ahead especially in the areas of pre and post natal care for HIV positive women and along with birth asphyxia. It should be noted that the ther e were significant challenges in the data verification and collection in some parts of the c ountry due to its arch ipelagic nature. The Bahamas has already made substa ntial progress in reducing its MM R, with 1-4 deaths per year. Table 55 Maternal mortality stat istics for the Bahamas Year MMR (per. 100,000 live births) Births attended by skilled health personnel (%) Crude Death Rate 1990 16.3 99.5 1994 5.6 1995 99.5 5.9 1996 5.4 1997 5.8 1998 6.1 1999 37.3 5.5 2000 37.8 99.5 2001 18.7 2003 39.6 5.2
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 104 2004 8.8 99.5 2005 2006 99 Source: Caribbean Development Bank, Social and Economic Indicators 2005: Borrowing members Countries, Volume XVI and Marshall, Dawn, Achieving the Millennium Development Goals: the Bahamas Progress Report. Infant and child mortality rates 342. Infant mortality is the de ath of a child before his or her first birthda y. The Human Development Report 2006 notes that the infant mortality rate wa s 38 per 1,000 live births in 2004. PAHO reports that the infant mortality ra te was 17.2 per 1,000 live births in 2003. Sex disaggregated data (1976) showed that that for girls it was 32 and for boys 42 and the ratio of girls to 100 boys was 76. Boys experience high er rates of infant mortality than girls. Table 56Infant Mortality Stat istics For the Bahamas Year Infant Mortality Rate Mortality Rate 1990 24.4 6.4 1994 19.7 1995 19 4.4 1996 18 1997 16.4 1998 13.9 1999 15.8 2000 14.8 2.4 2001 12.7 1.9 2003 17.2 3.4 2005 19.6 3.9 Sources: Caribbean Development Bank, Social and Economic Indicators 2005: Borrowing members Countries, Volume XVI and Marshall, Dawn, Achieving the Millennium Development Goals: The Bahamas Progress Report.p.18 343. The child morality rate re fers to deaths among childr en 1-4 years per 1,000 population aged 0-4 years. Child mortality rate in the Ba hamas is equally low for girls and boys. The child mortality rate for the latest availabl e year was 0.5 for girls and 1.2 for boysix.Under five mortality rates per 1000 live births in 2004 was 13 per 1,000 live births.x Achieving the Millennium Development Goals: the Bahamas Progress Report stated that, Although rates have fluctuated, the numbe r of deaths of children below the ag e of five has been maintained at
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 105 09-53532 a low level (below 1% of live births) for the past 15 years. Given this low level, a goal reduction by two-thirds is unreal istic and inappropriate the aim should be to maintain / sustain the low level of mortality.xi Womens life expectancy 344. In the Bahamas, women live longer than men. Life expectancy at birth 2000-2005 was 69.5 years. In 2005 it was 74.5 years for wome n and 67.9 years for men. The gap between women and men is 6.3 years for the period 20 05-2010. In 2000 it was 77. 3 for females and 70.7 for males.xii Crude birth and death rates for men and women 345. The crude mortality/death rate per 1,000 population was highe r for males than females. For females it was 5.4 and for males, 6.8. (1995/2000)xiii. In the Bahamas, the mortality rates have only increased marginally in the period prior to 2003xiv. PAHO reports that the estimated crude death rate has remained stable for the period 1995-1997. For women it was 4.8 (1995), 4.9 (1996) and 4.9 (1997). For men it was 6.3 (1995, 6.4 (1996), and 6.4 (1997). Average number of live births per woman 346. The estimate was 2.3 (2005). Unmet need for contraceptives 347. Current data was not available. Contraceptive prevalence 348. Contraceptive prevalence was 60.1 in 1988 the latest year fo r which data was available. Research is needed on contraceptive prevalen ce and the unmet need for contraceptives. Reproductive health services 349. There are no legal or cultural obstacles to women accessing repr oductive health services. There is a fully-subsidized government programme which pr ovides expanded contraceptive choices: oral contraceptives, condoms, injectables and intrauterine contraceptive devices. Women are offered screening services for brea st and cervical cancer, sexually transmitted infections and immunizat ion against, tetanus, rubella and hepatitis B. All women without regard to marital status have access to family pl anning services wit hout having to seek authorization from any other so urce. However, the husbands au thorization is, in practice, sought before the wife can have tubal ligation or ster ilization. Contraceptives are offered after delivery and no consent is required from the husband.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 106 Perinatal services 350. Comprehensive prenatal se rvices with routine iron, folic acid and multivitamin supplements are provided free of charge to cl ients on the islands thr ough public health as well as private facilities. All wome n accessing services are seen by traine d midwives, general practitioners and when necessar y obstetricians. Ninety-nine per cent (99%) of all deliveries are at the tertiary level. Decision-making is larg ely evidence-based with th e Perinatal Information System nearing nationalization. There is a comprehensive parent ing programme for both antenatal and postnatal women and their part ners. Advanced imagi ng and hematological screening are readily available and access to surg ical intervention is provi ded when necessary. Lactation management programme 351. This programme encourages the creatio n of breastfeeding-fr iendly environments throughout the Bahamas. Women are encouraged to exclus ively breast feed thei r children for at least the first six months of life. In the year 2002, legislation increased provisions of maternity leave and provided twelve (12) weeks paid maternity leave every three (3) years, facilitating women in their bonding process. School health services 352. All public schools bene fit from this programme which seek s to improve the health status of children (from primary to high school) and to minimize their n eed to miss classes for annual physicals and immunization. Curative care and c ounseling are also offered when necessary. Adolescent health services 353. The Adolescent Health Programme provides pre-natal and reproduc tive health services, encourages the attendance of both male and female clients, alt hough the clientele is mainly female. Clients do not require parental consen t for contraceptive services, but parents are encouraged to be involved. A select number of at-risk teenag e girls are afforded implant contraception at no charge to the client. The De partment of Public Health liaises closely with the Ministry of Education, co mmunity and religious groups in order to provi de holistic services. Rape services 354. The majority of clients ar e females although the service is offered to both sexes. The service is two-tiered for children and adults. A sp ecial unit has also been established to address the growing problem of rape. Th e Suspected Cases of Abuse a nd Neglect (SCAN) Unit, deals with children while women are channeled thr ough the Emergency Department and the Crisis Centre (NGO) for counseling. All victims are af forded consultation in a private room, offered counseling, STD screening (i ncluding HIV), antiretrovi ral therapy and emergency contraception.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 107 09-53532 Women workers in th e health sector 355. The majority of workers in the health sector are women, mo st work as nurse s, technicians as well as doctors. Sex disaggregated data of th e health sector workfo rce was not available. Additionally, it is not onl y the Government of the Bahamas th at provides seconda ry and tertiary health care and rehabilitation services. An exte nsive all-embracing netw ork of private health care is available by means of many private physic ians general practiti oners and specialists and dentists as well as pr ivate hospitals and clinics. Traditional he alth workers 356. No data was available. Compulsory family planning 357. There are no laws or polices that re quire use of family planning measures. Abortion 358. Abortion is currently illegal in the Bahamas. 359. The Government of th e Bahamas still us es the Penal Code of 1924 as the locus standi for all matters concerning a bortions. The code is very limited in its reference to abortions and allows for abortions to be lawf ully permitted under spec ific circumstances re lating explicitly to the preservation of the mental and physical heal th of the woman and to save the life of the woman. The Code does not prohibi t abortion in cases of rape, incest or other exceptions. 360. The Penal Code of the Bahamas of 1924, as revised (Sections 316, 330, and 334), provides that any act done in good faith and without negligen ce for the purposes of medical or surgical treatment of a pregnant woman is justifiable although it causes or is intended to cause abortion or miscarriage or premature delivery or the death of the child. Although the Code does not define what constitutes medical or surgical treatment, in practi ce, the law is interpreted very liberally. Abortions are reportedly performed on the grounds of foetal deformity and rape or incest, as well as on health grounds. 361. Abortions are usually performed within the first trimester, al though they are often allowed up to 20 weeks of gestation. The abortion must be performed in a hospital by a licensed physician. Government hospitals bear the cost fo r non-paying patients. Violation of the law is punished by imprisonment for 10 years (Penal Code, Section 316). Elective sterilizatio n of women and men 362. No such practice ex ists in the Bahamas.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 108 Female genital mutilation 363. Female Genital Mutilation is not practiced in the Bahamas. Dietary restrictions for pregnant women 364. There are no known practices in the country. HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) 365. HIV and AIDS are major concerns in the Ba hamas. In 2000, women accounted for 43.4 per cent of the 320 new cases identi fied. AIDS also ranked as the third highest cause of death among women and the first for men in the Bahama s. In 2005, HIV preval ence (per cent ages 15-49) was 3.3 (1.3-4.5). While the Bahamas has one of the highe st ratios of persons living with HIV/AIDS in the English-speaking Caribbean, it was the only country in the region to reduce the rate of HIV infection. This is commendable as the Caribbean has the second highest rate of infections in the world. 366. Despite their increased risk from violence, rape incest, a nd sexual harassme nt, women are still the lost epidemic in Bahamian HIV/AIDS programming. Much of the data present refer to women in other areas involving pregnancy and subs tance use. Evidence suggests that few programme interventions target women sp ecifically as a demographic group. 367. There is no data to suggest the use of gender-sensitive appro aches to health care services that meet the needs of wome n outside of the fra mework of pregnanc y and reproductive illnesses. The links betwee n gender and HIV and AIDS ne ed to be addressed more systematically to build awareness of how HIV impacts women and men differentially. 368. Future projections of the extent of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and Bahamian women would suggest that cannot be ma de with any precision; the outcome fo r the future ultima tely rest with the regulatory bodies and other st akeholders to provide a strengt hened multi-sector response 369. Measures introduced to increase public awareness of HIV and AIDS included: Antiretroviral therapy for women and men who are HIV positive; prevention of mother-to-child transmission; antenatal treatment for pregna nt women; policy to provide information, education, communication and prevention (IECEP) to the most at risk gr oups; policy to expand access to vulnerable comm unities; percentage HIV pos itive women and men receiving antiretroviral and the percentage of most at risk populations reached by prevention programmes. Target populations are MSM, sex workers and inj ecting drug users. 370. Women attending ante-natal clinics receive counseling and testing for HIV as well as information to raise awareness of the risks of infection. The Governme nt also provides total funding for AZT treatment to HIV infected pre gnant women which reduces infant mortality rates from HIV infection. Women have also received specialized training on HIV but there are
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 109 09-53532 no other programmes that specific ally address the issues of ge nder and HIV. Legislation makes it a criminal offense for anyone wi llfully infecting another person. Family planning and male involvement 371. The Bahamas has the highest health expenditure per capit a of the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region (maint ained above US$ 567 per capita since 1998) Family planning services have been available in all Government clinics sinc e 1997 and also at the Bahamas Planned Parenthood Association clin ic. Services offered include a full range of contraceptive methods, as well as c ounseling, education, information and physical test s. In 1997 the Government also established a programme to improve the qual ity of prenatal and neonatal health care. Sex and family life education is now mandatory in school curricula. The Government has recently change d the regulations regarding a dolescent pregnancy: girls can now attend school both during their pregnancy and after delivery. 372. Although given the commitment of the Govern ment of the Bahamas to improve family planning throughout the country to date these actions have failed to be effectivel y actualized. In the statement presented to the United Nations Population Fund Hague Fo rum given in 1999 the honorary representative outlined several initiative s to include gendered a pproached to Family Planning in keeping with the Cairo Platform of Action. A National Fam ily Planning Policy was drafted proposing the use of an age-sensitive sexual education program me for use in all schools. 373. The Government of the Bahamas has inst ituted various programs aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles. Thes e include the promotion of good nutri tion and healthy lifestyles. An assessment of the causes of morbidity and mortality am ong Bahamian women has been undertaken and recommendations ar e being considered. These repr esent progressive initiatives to advance womens health. Other health sector challenges to be addr essed include: nutrition disparities between boys and girls, special he alth services for women and for men and the need to increase, resources to improve womens health throughout their lifecycle. The health needs of older women are not adequately addressed and this is urgent given longer life expectancy projected overall but particularly for women. Article 13: Ensuring equality for women in economic and social life in the Bahamas Access to family benefits 374. The National Insurance Act and the Employ ment Act provide a framework for promoting equality in social and economic benefits. Overall, considerab le efforts are being made by the Government of the Bahamas and Bahamian societ y to improve the social benefits to women.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 110 Womens access to credit 375. Despite commitments to the Millennium Declaration and CEDAW, women presently face inequality with men in the area of economic benefits, a lthough trends indicat e that women are making significant stride s in reducing this inequality. The la bour force participation rates have been consistently lower than that of men. But, the gap has been narrowi ng in the last decade. Between 1980 and 2000, womens economic activity rate increased by 11 per cent, moving from 57 per cent in 1980 to 68 per cent in 2000. In comparison, the change for men was marginal moving from 2, to 78 to 80 in the resp ective years. In 2004, female economic activity rate (% aged 15 and older) was 64.5 per cent. 376. Female economic activity as a percentage of the male rate aged 15 and over (2004) was 91 per cent. Male employment was lo wer in agriculture 1 per cent for the period compared with 6 per cent for females. Female em ployment in industry was 5 per cent compared to 24 per cent for males. In services the rate for females was higher 93 compar ed to 69 for th e period 1995 2003. Bahamian women have the highest economic acti vity rate in the region, and the Government of the Bahamas continues to en courage and promote women in throughout the country. To encourage more women to become entrepreneurs, the BW A has organized public fora to promote women entrepreneurs a nd to improve financial empowerment. Access to bank loans, mortgages an d other forms of financial credit 377. As a well recognized inte rnational financial centre, the Bahamas ha s developed a comprehensive financial structur e which recognized long ago that providing financial credit to women was essential to attracting qualified cu stomers/investors. The Bahamas does have any restrictions for women regarding access to any form of financial credit. Furthermore, the Government of the Bahamas has de veloped sufficient legislative safeguards to ensure that all individuals in the Bahamas are afforded an equal opportunity to access fina ncial credit regardless of gender difference s. Women in the Bahamas have few impediments to acquiring financial credit from financial institutions throughout the Bahama s as long as they meet the requirements of their respective financial institutions. Women in the Bahamas are not required to obtain the consent of their husband or male guardian in orde r to access fina ncial credit. 378. In addition, as more wo men are presently employed thr oughout the Government of the Bahamas, the government in ta ndem with financial institutions throughout the country has agreed to enable individuals employed with the government preferential access to credit through salary deductions which are guarant eed by the individuals employment in the Bahamian Public Service. Rights to participate in recreational activities, sports and cultural life 379. There are no legal, so cial or other restrict ions which forbid wome n in the Bahamas from participating in any form of r ecreational activity, sports or fro m become instrumental in the development of Bahamian culture. In fact, wome n in the Bahamas have long been recognized
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 111 09-53532 for their accomplishments in international sports, as they have and cont inue to represent the Bahamas in domestic, regional and international sporting events. Article 14: Rural women Status of rural women in the Bahamas 380. The structure of the Bahamian population and its density, results in a very small rural population. In the Bahamas on ly 15 per cent or (45,785/303, 611) persons live in rural communities/Family Islands. Additionally, the ag e structure in the rural communities are comprised of mostly young persons and elderly persons, as the majority of persons migrate either to New Provide nce, Grand Bahama, Abaco or abroad for suitable employment opportunities. Although the majority of Bahamian s thrive on tourism a nd financial services, rural women do not benefit as much from these industries which are prim arily locate d in New Providence. Therefore, special measures are needed to assist them and their families. 381. Due to the difficulties in achieving adequate development of the Bahamian archipelago which comprises around 700 islands and cays spread over vast swathes of ocean, the Family Islands have experienced tremend ous difficulty in attracting su fficient investments. A major problem for successive Government of the Baha mas has been the inability to stimulate the economies of Family Islands due to their geography, low popul ation numbers; and lack of sufficient infrastructure. 382. Geography : These Family Islands are located far away from the capital and major trading centers which increase the costs of their exports and imports. 383. Low Population Numbers : Prohibit industries from re-loca ting from more developed parts of the Bahamas due to the l ack of potential empl oyees of working-ag e throughout these communities. 384. Infrastructure : Successive Governments of the Bahamas have b een constricted by their financial ability to provide suff icient infrastructure throughout the Family Islands due to the majority of the population residi ng in either New Providence or Grand Bahama Governments of the Bahamas have long rec ognized that the capital Nassau needed to become the primary engine for the development of the entire Ba hamian archipelago due to its geographic characteristics, and ability to accommodate and employ the populace of the Bahamas. 385. In recent times, the Govern ment of the Bahamas has reaffi rmed its intention to develop sufficient infrastructure throughout the Family Islands so that all islands throughout the Bahamian archipelago could bene fit from the economic prosperity of Bahamian development. Therefore, the Government has begun to address infrastructural deficiencies throughout the Family Islands on a systematic basis. Although the Family Isla nds do not have the same level of infrastructure as either New Providence or Gran d Bahama, projects have been approved which would significantly impr ove the level of infrastructur e throughout the more populated
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 112 islands. The Government of the Bahamas rec ognizes that the development of the Family Islands will take time, as the G overnment of the Bahamas must maintain economic vigilance in order to improve the quality of life fo r all individuals th roughout the country. Rural womens participation in development planning 386. Rural women are actively e ngaged in numerous facets of development planning for both their communities and also thos e established for the entire country, however there needs to be more women included in all aspects of deve lopment planning. The Government of the Bahamas, along with the BWA, womens NGO s and other civic gr oups must begin to proactively address the role of women in all aspect s of development pla nning throughout the Family Islands, and must begin to develop campaigns geared at qualitatively and quantitatively improving womens participati on in development planning. Rural womens access to adequa te health care facilities 387. Unfortunately rural women, as well as well as their male counterpa rts and their children, have not been enabled to access adequate health care facilities in their respective communities, which is also true fo r all other indi viduals throughout rural comm unities. The Government of the Bahamas established clinics and health care facilities th roughout its archipelago which attempts to satisfy the needs of rural communities, however more advanced health care issues must be dealt with in more populated areas. Due to economic human resource and population constraints more advance heal th care facilities are found in New Providence and Grand Bahama. Research has s uggested that the Fami ly Island communitie s have not reached a sufficient threshold that justif ies the development of advance he alth care facili ties. Based upon the 2000 Census, Abaco with a population of 13,170 would become the most likely candidate to obtain advanced health care fa cilities in th e near future. 388. In addition, the Government of the Bahamas has establis hed adequate safeguards which enables persons in the Family Islands or rural communities the ability to visit advanced health care facilities in New Providence or Grand Bahama, in the event th at health care facilities in their communities are unable to sati sfy their medical requirements. Rural womens access to social security benefits 389. Any individual who works in the Baha mas and meets the mi nimum requirements established by the National Insurance Board (NIB) is entitle d to access social security benefits. The Government of the Bahamas ha s also enacted domestic legislation that enables all persons, whether legal or illegal residents to access social security benefits which provide an ample security net in the even t of economic hardships.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 113 09-53532 Rural womens ability to obta in education and training 390. Rural Women have unrestricted access in thei r ability to obt ain satisfactory education and training opportunities in thei r communities and throughout th e country. While most rural women and men attend their local schools up unt il high school, those who desire additional education either migrate to the capital to atte nd the College of the Ba hamas or go overseas to finish their educations. While the Government of the Bahamas has provided access to grants, scholarships and loans which can help rural women, additional research is required to ascertain the extent to which rural women be nefit from these existing programs. Rural womens ability to actively pa rticipate in community activities 391. Rural women actively participate in co mmunity affairs throughout their respective communities/Family Islands. In fact, with su ch small population numbers, women often are empowered to substantiall y contribute in all aspect s of community affairs. There are no legal or social restrictions which would lim it the ability of rural women in the Bahamas to participate in any aspect of community development. Rural womens ability to enjoy adequate living conditions 392. Rural women have the ability to enjoy adequate living c onditions as do all individuals throughout the Bahamas. Although rural women ma y be constricted by their financial positions due to the lack of sufficient employment options throug hout rural communities individuals in rural communities posit that the quality of life in these communi ties far outwei ghs the quality of life in the urban areas of the Bahamas. Article 15: Equality before the Law Equality in treatment 393. Women are treated equally w ith men with respect to their legal capacity to conclude contracts and administer propert y by virtue of Article 15 of th e Constitution which outlines the fundamental rights and freedom of the individual and that those ri ghts are secured regardless of his race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex. In addition, provision is made in the Married Womens Property Act Ch. 129 that contracts entered in to by married women shall bind them separately. That section provides 16. Every contract hereafter entered into by a married woman, otherwise than as agent (a) shall be deemed to be a contract entered into by her with respect to and to bind her separate property whether she is or is not in fa ct possessed or entitled to any separate property at the time when she ente rs into such contract;
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 114 (b) shall bind all separate propert y which she may at the time or thereafter be possessed of or entitled to; (c) shall also be enforceable by process of la w against all property which she may thereafter while discover be possess ed or entitled to: Provided that nothing in this sect ion contained shall re nder available to satisfy any liability or obligation arising out of such contract any separate property wh ich at that time or thereafter she is restrained from anticipating. Womens administration of property 394. Women and men have the same rights to administer property. Section 6(1) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Act, Ch.2 provides that words a nd expressions importing the masculine gender include the feminine. The Administration of Estates Act, Ch. 108 which makes provision for the administration of a deceased persons propert y defines the terms administrator and personal representative making refere nce to the masculine gender. Relying on section 6(1) of the Constitution whic h states that words a nd expressions importing the masculine gender include the fe minine it means therefore, th at women have the same rights as men to administer property and can be executors or administrato rs of an estate. In addition, under the executors Act, Ch. 119 which makes better provision for th e disposal of the indisposed residues of the effe cts of testators, the acts of women are not restricted. Equality in womens disposal of property 395. Women have the right to ad minister property without inte rference or consent by a male, regardless of whether they acqui re it during marriage, bring it in to marriage by virtue of the Married Womens Property Act, Ch. 129. In that Act, provision is made as follows: 2. A married woman shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Act, be capable of acquiring with the provisions of this Act, be capable of acqui ring, holding an d disposing by will or otherwise, of any real or personal property as her separate property, in the same manner as if she were a femme sole, without the intervention of any trustee 3. Every woman who marries after the commenceme nt of this Act shall be entitled to have and to hold as her separate pr operty and to dispose of in a manner aforesaid all real and personal property which shall belong to her at th e time of marriage, or shall be acquired by or devolve upon her after the ma rriage, including any wages, earnings, money and property gained or acquired by her in an y employment, trade or occupation, in which she is engaged, or which she carries on separately fr om her husband, or by the exercise of any literacy, artistic or scientific skill. And in section 6 6. Every woman married before the commencement of this Act shall be entitled to have and hold and to dispose of in mann er aforesaid as her separate properly all real and personal
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 115 09-53532 property, her title to which, whet her vested or contingent, and wh ether in possession, reversion, or remainder, shall accrue afte r the commencement of this Act, including any wages, earnings, money and property, so gain ed or acquired aforesaid. Womens access to justice 396. Women have both the capacity to sue and be sued under the laws of the Bahamas. According to section 8 of the Marri ed Womens Property Act, Ch. 129 8. Every woman, whether married before or af ter this Act, shall have in her own name against all persons whomsoever including her husband, the sa me civil remedies, and also (subject, as regards her husband, to the pr oviso contained in section 95 of the Penal Code) the same remedies and redress by wa y of criminal proceedings, for the protection and security of her own separate property, as if such property be longed to her as a femme sole, but, except as aforesaid, no husband or wife sha ll be entitled to sue the other fo r a tort. In any information or other proceeding under this sectio n it shall be sufficient to al lege such property to be her property; and in any proceeding unde r this section a husband or wife shall be competent to give evidence against each other, any Act or rule of law to the contrary notwithstanding. 397. Female lawyers are entitled to represent clients before cour ts and tribunals in accordance with the Legal Profession Act, Ch. 64 which makes provision with respect to the practice of law by persons in the Bahamas, for the admission of persons to such pr actice, for the creation of a registered associate and legal executive, for the conduct and discipline of registered associates, legal executives and persons admitted to practice, and for matte rs incidental to or connected with the aforesaid matters and affo rds the same privileges to women as those enjoyed by men. 398. Women are permitted to serv e both in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal of the Bahamas. At present there are five female Supreme Court Just ices and the President of the Court of Appeal is a female. Jury service 399. Women are allowed to serve as jurors by virtue of the Ju ries Act, Ch. 59 which provides that every person age twentyone years and over and resident in a sittings dist rict shall be qualified for jury service. Legal aid 400. Women do have access to le gal services. Article 20 of th e Constitution provides (2) Every person who is charged with a criminal offence
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 116 (d) shall be permitted to defend himself before the cour t in person or, at hi s own expense, by a legal representative of his own choice or by a legal representative at the public expense where so provided by or under a law in force in the Bahamas. Womens freedom of movement 401. There are no customs or trad itions that restrict women from exercising their right to freedom of movement and choice of residence within the Baha mas. Freedom of movement is one of the fundamental rights a nd freedoms of persons living in the Bahamas and is enshrined in Article 6 of the Constitution (1) Except with his consent, no person shall be hi ndered in the enjoymen t of his freedom of movement, and for the purposes of this Article the said freedom means the right to move freely throughout the Bahamas, the right to reside in any part thereof, the right to enter the Bahamas, the right to leave the Bahamas and immunity from expulsion therefrom. 402. The domicile of a woman is independent of that of he r husband. A married womens domicile is ascertaine d by reference to the same factors as in the case of any other individual capable of having an independent domicile. 403. Under the provisions of the Constitution of the Bahamas, women who emigrate to work temporarily in other countries ha ve the same rights as men to have their spouses, partners and children join them. According to Article 25: 25. (1) Except with his consent, no person shal l be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of movement, and for the purposes of this Arti cle the said freedom m eans the right to move freely throughout the Bahamas, the right to reside in any part thereof, the right to enter the Bahamas, the right to leave the Bahama s and immunity from expulsion therefrom. Article 16: Ensuring equality for women in marriage and family life Womens right to marriage 404. Family relations are governed by statute law and common la w. The Constitution of the Bahamas does not provide gender equality for wo men when marrying a foreign spouse and his entitlement to citizenship and also as regards the citizenship of their children born outside of the Bahamas whose father is not Bahamian. However, the G overnment of th e Bahamas has enacted substantial legislation to mitigate an y constitutional constraints regarding womens equality regarding their rights to marria ge, and the transmission of citizenship. Non-married co-habitants 405. The types or forms of fami lies that exist in th e Bahamas are legal marriages and common law unions. Marriages are recognized by the State.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 117 09-53532 406. The rights recognized under the law of pers ons who live together as husband and wife extends only to obtaining protec tion orders where there has been abuse. This is provided for under the Domestic Violence (Pro tection Orders) Act, 2007. 407. In addition, under the Status of Children s Act, Chapter 130, children born outside of wedlock are regarded as havi ng equal status to those child ren born inside a marriage. Freedom to choose a spouse 408. Men as well as women are free to choose a spouse. Womens rights and respon sibilities during marriage 409. Both men and women are under the same obligations during marriage. Women and polygamy 410. Polygamy is not permitted by law. Womens marriage protections 411. The rights recognized under the law of pers ons who live together as husband and wife extend only to obtaining protecti on orders where there has been abuse. This is provided for under the Domestic Violence (Pro tection Orders) Act, 2007. Womens right to choose a profession 412. Men and women have the same rights to choose a professi on and women do exercise their right to choose a profession. This right is not affected by marriage. Equal rights to property ownership 413. Married women have an equal voice with th eir husbands in the main tenance and disposal of property. In fact according to secti on 2 of the Married Womens Property Act: 2. (1) A married woman shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Act, be capable of acquiring, holding and disposing by will or otherwise, of any re al or personal property as her separate property, in the same manner as if she were a femme so le, without the intervention of any trustee. Womens equality in divorce 414. A petition for divorce may be presented to the court either by the husband or the wife on the same grounds i.e. adultery, cr uelty, desertion, has lived sepa rate and apart for a continuous
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 118 period of five years immediately preceding the petition or guilty of homosexual act, sodomy or sexual relations with an animal except that a wife may also petition on the ground that her husband has since the celebration of th e marriage been found guilty of rape. 415. Divorces in the Bahamas are record ed in the Supreme Courts Registry. 416. Women have a right, an equa l right to maintenance on di vorce as well as pending the hearing of the application. A ccording to section 26 of the Ma trimonial Causes Act, Ch. 125: 26. On a petition for di vorce, nullity of ma rriage or judicial separation, the court may make an order for maintenance pending suit, that is to say, an order requiring either party to the marriage to make to the other su ch periodical payments for his or her maintenance and for such term, being a term beginning not earlier than the date of the pr esentation of the petition and ending with the date of the determination of the suit, as the cour t thinks reasonable. 417. Further, in section 27, on granting a divorce, nullity of ma rriage or judicial separation the court may grant one order or a combination of orders. For example, inter alia, periodical payments for a specified time or lump sum paymen ts lump sum payments either for the benefit of the other party to the ma rriage or for the benefit of a child of the family. 418. The Court may grant property adjustment orde rs namely, a transfer of property, settlement of property or for a variation of settlement. In determining financial provisions or property adjustment the court, according to section 29(1) (g) of the Matr imonial Causes Ac t, Ch. 125, is under a duty to consider a number of matters including the contri bution made by each of the parties to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family. 419. The courts recognize the rights of those wh o live together as hus band and wife without legal marriage with respect to property during the relationshi p and on its breakdown but there is no legislative provision fo r the recognition of such. Womens protections against domestic violence 420. Previously, the law governing the abuse of wives was set out in the Sexual Offences Act, Ch. 99. A new Act, the Domestic Violence ( Protection Orders ) Act, 2007 has been passed to repeal and replace those provisions in the Se xual Offences and Domestic Violence Act which address abuse so that not only wives but de facto wives may obt ain protection orders against a perpetrator of abuse. 421. Women and men share the sa me rights in relation to maki ng decisions regarding the upbringing of their children pr ovided that such parent has been responsible Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act, 2007.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 119 09-53532 Custody of children 422. With respect to custody of children woman and men shar e equal rights irrespective of marital status. Section 7 of the Guardianship a nd Custody of Infants Act, Chapter 132 states 7. (1) The court may upon the applic ation of the father or mother of a child, make such order as it may think fit regarding th e custody of such child and the right of acc ess thereto of either parent . 423. However, custody of children is affected where the court determ ines that either party to the marriage has willfully neglected to ma intain the child of the marriage. 424. Women have the same rights as men with respect to the guard ianship and custody of children according to the Guardianship and Custody of Infants Act, Ch. 132. If the father of a child dies, the mother if surviving shall (subject to the provisions of the Act) be the guardian of the child, either alone or jointl y with any guardian appointed by the father. Similarly, if the mother of a child dies, the father if surviving shall (subject to th e provisions of the Act) be the guardian of the child, either al one or jointly with any guardian appoint ed by the mother. Moreover, section 6 of the Guardianship and Cust ody of Infants Act provi des that the mother of a child shall have th e like powers to apply to the court in respect of any ma tter affecting the child as are possessed by the father. Child adoption 425. With regard to the adoptio n of children, men and women en joy similar rights except that according to section 6(2) of the Adoption of Children Act, Ch. 131 (2) An adoption order shall not be made in any case wh ere the sole applican t is a male and the infant in respect of whom the application is made is a female unless the court is satisfied that there are special circumstances which justify as an exceptional meas ure the making of an adoption order. 426. According to section 74 of the Matrimonial Causes Act, Ch. 125, the court may make such order as it thinks fit for the cu stody and education of any child of the family who is under the age of eighteen but in practice women usually obtain custody of children. Child maintenance 427. According to section 4 of the Matrimonial Causes (Summary Jurisdiction) Act, Ch. 126, the court may make a matrimonial order containing inter alia: (g) a provision for the making by the defendant or by the applican t or by each of them for the maintenance and education of any child of th e family of weekly pa yments and of such periodical lump sum as the court may determine .
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 120 428. Single mothers have the right to appropriate child support from th e putative father of a child by virtue of the Affiliation Proceedings Act, Ch. 133. Under the Affiliation Proceedings Act, a mother may apply to the Ma gistrates Court for an affiliat ion order. Section 7 provides (2) Where the court has adjudged the defendant to be the putativ e father of th e child, it may also, if it thinks fit in all the circumstances of the case, make an order against him (referred to in this Act as an affiliation orde r) for the payment by him of (a) a sum of money weekly and, if the court sees fit, in addition a lump sum payable at such times as the court may determine for the maintenance and education of the child. 429. Where there has been a defa ult in payment the mother may make an appli cation to the Magistrates Court and the defaulte r is liable to be imprisoned. Age of sexual consent 430. According to the Sexual Offences Act, Ch. 99, the minimum legal ag e of consent to sexual intercourse for both men and wome n is 16 years and consequently any person wh o engages in unlawful sexual intercourse with a person less than 16 years is guilty of an offence. According to section 20 of the Marriage Act, Ch. 120, the minimum age of marri age without consent is age 18, however a person under 18 who intends to marry require s the necessary consent unless the Supreme Court certifies that the pr oposed marriage appears to be proper. 431. In accordance with the provisions of the Registration of Records Act, Ch. 187 and the Marriage Act, marriages are required by law to be register ed. The procedure for such registration is in fact enforced and is stipulated in the Marriage Act, as follows 27. Immediately after the solemnization of a ma rriage the marriage offi cer before whom it is solemnized shall register it in duplicate, that is to say, firstly in a book to be kept by him for that purpose, called the marriage register, and secondl y on a separate form such registration shall be in the form gi ven and shall be signed by the parties married, by two witnesses and by the marriage officer. 28. After such registrati on of a marriage as af oresaid, the marriage offi cer shall transmit the duplicate register to the Registrar General and sha ll without payment of any fee; deliver to each of the parties married a copy of the original register of the marriage certified under his hand to be a true copy. 29. The duplicate register transm itted by the marriage officer to the Registrar General shall be filed and safely preserved by him in the general register office. 432. While there is no legisla tive requirement that divorces be similarly registered, such divorces are recorded in the Supreme Court Registry.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 121 09-53532 433. Information regarding the mi nimum age of marriage consent to marria ge and registration of marriage is containe d in the Marriage Act, Ch. 120 but there is no dissemination of information to the public per se. 434. The right to dower has been abolished in the Bahamas. Inheritance 435. In the Bahamas, inheritance is governed by the Wi lls Act, Ch. 115 and the Inheritance Act, Ch. 116. The Wills Act seeks to make provi sion for inheritance under a will while the Inheritance Act makes provision fo r inheriting where the deceased has died intestate. Under the Wills Act a beneficiary is entitled in accordance with the provisions of the will while the Inheritance Act sets out the order of distribution on intestacy. For example 4. (1) The residuary estate of an intestate shall be distribut ed in the manner mentioned in this section, namely(a) if the intestate leaves a husband or wife and no children the surviving husband or wife shall take the whol e residuary estate; (b) if the intestate (i) leaves a husband or wife and (A) one child, the surviving husband or wife shall take one half of the residuary estate and the remainder shall go to the child; (B) children, the surviving husba nd or wife shall take one half of the resi duary estate and the remainder shall be distributed equally among the children; (ii) leaves children but no husband or wife, the residuary estate shall be distributed equally among the children and where there is only one ch ild that child shall ta ke the whole residuary estate; 436. Also, women are entitled to acquire the matrimoni al home in which they reside whether their spouse died testate or intestate. This benefit also applies to men. 437. Additionally, women (and men) are also entitled to apply to the cour t for an order under section 13 of the Inheritance Act on the ground th at the disposition of their husbands estate affected by his will is not such as to make reasonable financial provision for her. 438. Widows and widowers have sp ecial rights and obligations unde r the Pensions and National Health Insurance Acts, Chapte rs 43 and 350 respectively.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 122 439. Widows and daughters of a deceased man do ha ve a legal right equal to that off widowers and sons, to inherit if the deceased died in testate. Such entitleme nt is provided for in Inheritance Act, Ch. 116. By virt ue of Section 3 of the Inheritanc e Act, with regard to the real and personal estate of every pe rson dying after the commencement of the Inheritance Act, all existing modes, rules and canons of descent and of devolution by special occupancy or otherwise of real esta te, or of personal esta te were abolished. 440. Widows and daughters can receiv e property under a will as a te stator enjoys testamentary freedom. 441. There is no legal or customary restraint on a testator bequeathi ng the same share of property to widows and daughters as to widows and sons; testator s enjoy testamentary freedom. However, see 16:36 above. 442. There is no law regulating the marriage of a widow to he r deceaseds husbands brother. There is however the Marr iage with Deceased Wifes Sister Act, Ch. 122 whic h declares that where a man has, whether before or after the pa ssing of this Act, and whether in the Bahamas or elsewhere, married his decease ds wifes sister the marriage, if legal in all other respects, shall be, and shall be deemed alwa ys to have been, legal for all purposes, unless either party to the marriage has subsequently, du ring the life of the other, but be fore the passing of this Act, lawfully married another. Summary 443. The Government of the Baha mas is convinced that the pr evailing ethos throughout the international community to elim inate all aspects of gender ine quality is a just cause. The Government of the Bahamas recogni zes that it has to become more proactive in its efforts to ensure that all women in the Ba hamas have an abilit y to fully integrate themselves throughout all development aspects of the Bahamas. The G overnment of the Bahama s perceives that its submission of its initia l, second, third; and fourth peri odic State report for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination serves as a reaf firmation of the Government of the Bahamas to fulfill both its do mestic and international obligat ions regarding improving all aspects of gender ine quality for women. Although the Ba hamas faces numerous obstacles which need to be resolved, women throughout the Bahamas have achie ved tremendous success in numerous areas of con cern throughout the country. 444. For the period under review (1993-2006), the Government of the Ba hamas is pleased to report that the Bahamas has virt ually accomplished its internat ional obligations in enhancing the abilities of women throughout the country. Th e Government of the Ba hamas has also been proud of its capacity to outperform richer industr ialized countries in a plethora of social and economic issues pertaining to reducing gender inequalities fo r its female populace. However, the Government of the Bahamas recognizes that although much work still remains, it has already begun to deconstruct obstacles wh ich can prevent women in the Bahamas from achieving unconditional equality throughout the Bahamas.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 123 09-53532 445. Statistics included in this State report, and developed by respectable international organizations such as the Unit ed Nations have also authen ticated the end ogenous success achieved by the Government of the Bahamas for the period under re view. Although the Government of the Bahamas is proud of its accomplishments, the government has already adopted a proactive approach whic h is forward looking, and that has already begun to establish potential policies which can only strengthen wo mens rights throughout the country. Fortunately, women thr oughout the Bahamas have become encouraged by national efforts to reduce all barriers to de veloping a uniquely Bahamian society which will not tolerate any form of gender discrimination. i Office of the United Nations High Commi ssioner for Human Rights Website, [URL: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/ratification/8.htm ], 17 September, 2008. ii The initial report was due 1994, the second 19951999, the third 2000-2004 and the fourth 2005-2008. iii United Nations Human Deve lopment Report 2007/2008. iv The United States of Americas State Departme nt, 2000 US State Department Human Rights Report. v CARICOM (2004), Women and Men in the Caribbean Co mmunity: Facts and Figures 1980-2001, Guyana, CARICOM. vi (http://www.bahamasb2b.com/dir/Churches_and_Religion/) vii See Annex on the Employment Act 2001. viii Interview with Dr. R. Chipman-Johnson, Vice -President of the College of the Bahamas. ix CARICOM 2003. x The United Nations Human Development Report 2006/07. xi Marshall, Dawn, Achieving th e Millennium Development Goals: The Bahamas Progress Report. xii CARICOM 2003. xiii Ibid. xiv Ibid.
CEDAW/C/BHS/4 09-53532 124 Table 18 Women in Top Political Leadership Positions 1990 2002 Position Women Men Total Women Men Total Senators Member of Parliament Total 5 60 65 15 41 56 (%) Distribution 8 92 100 27 73 100 1990/91 2000/01 Legislators 1879 3728 5607 5268 8108 13376 (%) Distribution 34 66 100 39 61 100 Source: National Report for the Bahamas on the Statistics of Women, 2004 Table 18 Women in Top Political Leadership Positions 1995 & 2006 1995 2006 Position Women Men Total Women Men Total Members of Parliament 4 45 49 9 32 41 Members of Cabinet 3 10 13 4 12 16 Members of Senate 3 13 16 9 6 15 Source: Bahamas Handbook and Businessmans Annual, 1995 and 2006