PLP aims for more female representation
Female Progressive Labour Party senators helped announce a new initiative aimed at engaging women and increasing female parliamentary representation to coincide with International Women’s Day.
The Women’s Caucus will be “grounded in the grass roots”, PLP Public Relations Officer Liana Hall said at a press conference alongside Senator Tinee Furbert and Senator Kim Wilkerson yesterday afternoon, with the goal of including “all women no matter their education level, race, or political status”. “This is an initiative to engage all women and increase female parliamentary representation, while pushing the issues that concern us,” she said.
Matters to be discussed will be “fundamental to the health of our society,” Ms Hall said, and will include the proposed expansion of maternity and paternity allowances — proposed in the party’s response to last year’s Throne Speech. Issues pertaining to “abandoned” seniors, mental health and addiction, and more will also be discussed.
“While there is much talk about young black men being neglected in this society, women — especially black women — are often the forgotten,” Ms Hall said.
“No, we are not shooting one another, but our struggles are just as important.
“If we do not face the issues that affect women, we will continue to raise our girls and boys to be violent and disenfranchised.”
“Women in Bermuda face many unique issues,” Ms Furbert said. “I believe if we examine the root causes of these issues, we can find solutions for all of Bermuda.”
Highlighting sexual assault, and domestic violence and abuse, the senator said that more resources and support must be available to create safe spaces for victims.
Ms Wilkerson said that caucus would be “complementary” to the work being done by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Women’s Issues and Unemployment.
The initiative, Ms Hall said, has been in the works for the past couple of months. Support has come from party members “who range in age from 22 to 70,” she said.
Ms Wilkerson said it was “exciting” to see younger women involved in the party “taking the lead”.
Ms Hall also used the conference to pay homage to the “long legacy of PLP women leaders and premiers,” including Dame Lois Browne-Evans — the first female Attorney-General and Commonwealth’s first female Opposition leader, and Dame Jennifer Smith — Bermuda’s first-elected female Premier.
“As our most recent female Premier, Paula Cox carried the flame on,” she said.
“All women, not just party members, are welcome to attend,” Ms Hall said of the launch event.
Meetings held following the launch will be exclusive to party members, with open sessions “periodically” held to “hear from those who wish to express themselves, their needs in the community and contribute to being bold for change.”
The launch takes place on March 18.
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