Sorry Beyonce I’m going to have disagree with you here.
During my recent stay in The Bahamas, a Gender Equality Referendum took place. Since gaining their independence from the United Kingdom on the 10th July 1973, the Bahamians have been making amendments to their constitution to suit them and move forward. On the 7th June 2016 a referendum was held to make four amendments, these were:
- To allow children born to a Bahamian mother abroad to automatically be allowed Bahamian citizenship (as is the case with children born to Bahamian men abroad)
- To allow children born to both Bahamian men out of wedlock to be allowed Bahamian citizenship
- To allow children born to Bahamian women out of wedlock to be allowed Bahamian citizenship.
- To make it no longer legal to discriminate against people based on their sex.
Seems like reasonable stuff right?
Shockingly however, the Bahamian people voted AGAINST this change for equality and equal rights. I was like “WTAF” and “OMG” and just general “WHAAAT”. Never in my life had I been so thankful that I was a British citizen. That I was born in the United Kingdom and wherever in the world my future children are born, they can also be British citizens.
I think the most shocking thing about this referendum is question number one because men already have this simple right. Like hello blatant sexism staring us all in the face? Is it just me that finds it a little weird that people don’t recognise that that is wrong?
The overall results were:
Question One: Yes, 27.494 No, 44,175
Question Two: Yes, 20, 742 No, 51,130
Question Three: Yes, 24, 266 No, 47,665
Question Four: Yes, 15, 133 No, 56, 609
(Source: Tribune 242)
So kind of a landslide victory for the NO camp which is a bit distressing.
In the UK I take my rights for granted. There is nothing in my life I have not yet come across that I am unable to have access to because I am female. I am aware that this may change (especially when I hit the career ladder properly) but I also have faith that I will have the opportunity to shape my own opportunities, regardless of my gender or sex. I believe that the UK will continue to grow and move forward (we are after all not perfect and sexism and inequality STILL exists here) and I do not doubt for one minute that being a woman will hold me back.
Being in The Bahamas for this historic occasion really hit home with me how fucking thankful I am. Women across the world are being continuously held back. I recently came across an article on Saudi Arabia and women’s right there (full article here) and hell I was shocked. The stuff these women were not allowed to do was just completely alien to me. Most of these things were things I do in my daily life.
I’m not sure what this post is all about – all I know is the results of the Bahamian referendum made me really fucking angry. Truth to be told, my only reaction at the time was shock. I would never except a result like that in the UK and it was my sheltered life I’ve had here which ensured I was so shocked. I’m lucky enough to have had opportunities and taught to be able to recognise sexism and inequality when it is staring me in the face.
Whilst the UK is not perfect, thank you for being how you are. All we can do is hope and make movements for change so one day we can have the equal image we all desire and as one of the people I most admire, Malala Yousaifz, said, “We cannot all succeed when half of us are being held back.”
The power of education and unbiased guidance is key and women everywhere must not stop campaigning and fighting for what we are entitled too. I’m never going to be finished ranting about women’s rights (or lack of) but to sum up this time, Emma Watson said “How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in conversation?”
Gender equality and feminism isn’t about man-hating, it’s about people-loving.