The celebration of National Women’s Week on Grand Bahama continued Wednesday, with outstanding females from throughout Grand Bahama gathering on the lawn of the Government Complex on the Mall for a Tree Planting ceremony observing of the 46th Anniversary of the Women’s Right to Vote in the Bahamas.

Women in The Bahamas voted for the first time in the 1962 general elections. Dame Doris Johnson also became the first female to contest a general election seat.

On Grand Bahama to mark the occasion was Minister of State for Social Development, the Hon. Loretta Butler-Turner, who participated in the Tree Planting ceremony. A special banquet honouring 40 women in the community was scheduled for Wednesday evening.

Addressing the gathering attending the Tree Planting, Mrs. Butler-Turner congratulated the Women’s Affairs Department on Grand Bahama for their efforts in organizing the event.

The Minister said she was pleased with the selection of the Lignum Vitae Tree, calling it “the most significant tree in celebrating our women and especially the women whose lives we celebrate and on who shoulders we stand upon.”

The Lignum Vitae Tree is the National Tree of The Bahamas.

Mrs. Butler-Turner told the gathering that as the tree grows, and a sign is placed there to commemorate the reason for its planting, “the girls of today as they pass that historic point will be able to see how far women in The Bahamas have come.”

“And, as the branches spread, we trust that we will spread with that, that we would be able to mark our achievement by the growth and development of this tree,” she stated.

Continuing, Mrs. Butler-Turner said they want the public to know that this is an age of change.

“This is indeed an age where women are finally coming into their own. Next year this time, hopefully we will be able to plant Lignum Vitae Tree in places like Abaco, Eleuthera, Exuma, Long Island and all of the other Family of Islands, because when we start nurturing our daughters and our women, certainly this is going to build all around The Bahamas and we are going to be able to build stronger communities, stronger families and indeed a better Bahamas.

“And we know that when we strengthen the woman, she will keep everything together in terms of the family life, in terms of community building,” she stated.