More work must be done to tackle sexism
Election candidates from all three parties have praised Bermuda for its high level of gender diversity in the workplace.
Tinée Furbert, of the Progressive Labour Party, Gavin Smith, of the Free Democratic Movement and Daquan Scott, of the One Bermuda Alliance, pledged to continue to combat sexism on the island.
Ms Furbert, the PLP candidate in St George's South, said that she wanted to support gender diversity in different sectors across the island, particularly politics.
She added: “Women will be your greatest critics, but they will also be your greatest supporters and I think it is important for us as women to continue to support women, particularly in the political arena.
“We just need the community to encourage women — men as well, but I think that women tend to take most of the brunt in terms of judgment and criticism in this field.”
Ms Furbert was speaking at the first pre-election Youth Forum last week.
The forum, held online on the Zoom app and streamed over social media platforms, was designed to help young voters learn about the platforms of the parties.
The event was set up by Bermuda Youth Connect, an organisation launched to help bridge the gap between the young and political leaders.
Ms Furbert said that Bermuda had a high number of women across the workforce and in positions of power, with the PLP having the highest number of women members in its history.
But she added that more support needed to be given to women.
Mr Furbert said: “It takes a lot to put your life out on the front lines — people make all sorts of judgments and criticisms and it not only affects you, but it affects your family.”
Ms Furbert said that she and her women colleagues had pushed for government boards to become more diverse.
She added that gender representation also involved the inclusion of men on some boards as well.
Ms Furbert said that the main goal was the equal representation of ideas and perceptions.
She added: “It is important for us as women who serve in Parliament to speak up for other women and to make people do their due diligence in the inclusion of women, particularly in boards and counsels.”
Daquan Scott, the OBA candidate for Southampton East, said that children had to be taught at an early age how to treat people on an equal basis.
He added that the culture of sexism on the island was a serious problem that needed to be tackled through better education.
He said: “You see it as you go out a little bit — some people just brush it off and think ‘he's just being a boy' or ‘he's just being rude', but we should take it pretty seriously and nip it in the bud early.”
Mr Scott added: “Nobody wants to be going down the street and be harassed just because they look nice or they just wanted to dress up this day.
“You don't want to be yelled at in the street or have people ride up to you and talk to you in a way you do not want to be talked to.”
Gavin Smith, the Free Democratic Movement candidate for Pembroke South East, said that it was vital to break gender expectations for men and women.
He hoped to break the idea of gendered jobs — the effects of which he saw in the education system.
Mr Smith explained: “When I look at education — which is where I'm currently employed — it's majority women, so when they see a man come into the field they're like ‘oh my god, this is amazing — finally we have a man'.”
He added: “There's all types of factors in Bermuda as to why that's become a standard where there are ‘male jobs' and ‘female jobs'.”
Mr Smith said that Bermuda was “one of the most inclusive spaces when it comes to gender equality” in the workforce and that this needed to be recognised.
He added that education and creativity should be encouraged in boys at a young age.
Mr Smith said: “They can be all types of things — they don't just have to be good with their hands.”