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Gender affairs council tasked with raising men’s incomes

Tinee Furbert Minister of Development and Seniors holds a press conference on Expression of Interest for the Gender Affairs Council (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

People interested in promoting gender equality in Bermuda can apply to be on the new gender affairs council.

Tinee Furbert, the Minister of social development and seniors, said members of the council will be tasked with find ways to reduce domestic abuse, where there has been a sharp increase in reports in the last four years.

The council will also attempt to increase the wages of men - whose income has fallen almost ten per cent behind women, Ms Furbert said.

“The Bermuda job market employment brief showed a widening in the earnings gap between genders. The median gross annual income in 2021 shows women earned $68,294 per year, compared to $61,946 for men, representing a 9.7 per cent difference in pay,” Ms Furbert said.

The Minister attributes this pay difference to the hard work of women’s liberation movements through the years. With that being said, there is a lot of work still to be done, because the needle has now tilted the other way.

“[The difference in pay] could also be related to the employment or work opportunities that women and men are now finding as options,” she said.

It will also be asked to address issues facing Bermuda’s LGBTQ+ community including the rise in transgender people.

“Sexuality is a topic that will be included in the gender affairs council’s remit,” she said.

Ms Furbert said minimum of seven people were needed to serve on the Council, adding: “Council members will identify, review and advise on social, educational, economic and legislative factors that advance the best-practised principles of gender equality and equity in national programmes and plans.”

According to Ms Furbert, this council will be key to a more progressive and equitable Bermuda.

Anyone from government agency representatives to those involved in the private sector and charities, are invited to apply to be on the council, which is not the first of its kind in Bermuda.

“In 2008, approval was given for establishing an equity council in Bermuda,” Ms Furbert explained. “In 2010, the former ministry of social and cultural rehabilitation established a women’s council to focus on women’s issues in Bermuda under the former leadership of the Hon. Neletha Butterfield.”

Ms Furbert also highlighted the recent partnership between Bermuda and the United Nations’ multi-country sustainable development framework, the first agreement of its kind between the two entities.

She said: “The first major project under this new engagement is a joint programme, building back equal through innovative financing for gender equality and women’s empowerment; a $1 million investment across two countries, Bermuda and the Bahamas.”

The deadline to fill out an expression of interest form to be on the council is October 7. The form can be accessed and submitted online at forms.gov.bm