Women will find Bermuda a far more benign traveling environment than many places in the Caribbean, Central America, or even a typical North American city. Bermudians pride themselves on the safety of their island, and violent, arbitrary crime is extremely rare. Female travelers should nevertheless use common sense and practical measures to keep safe, especially at night and if alone or in more remote areas.
Generally, Bermuda is conservative and modern in its attitudes towards women, and women won’t notice any gender issues they wouldn’t encounter in London or Los Angeles. Women doing business on the island will be treated with the same respect as their male colleagues (the local and international business communities count a growing number of women in top corporate jobs). And women need not feel unsafe or out of place touring most areas of the island, or eating alone in restaurants. They need not expect to encounter unwanted harassment, either, although Bermudian men have the habit of issuing a surreptitious hiss to catch your attention. Whether you smile, wave, or have no reaction, there’s rarely any further approach. The exception may be on the beaches, when local men sometimes try to chat up foreign women.
Women take part in most sports and clubs on the island, and a few annual sporting events are geared to them, such as the PartnerRe Women’s 5K Run & Walk (www.partnerre5k.bm) in mid-October, an event launched in 1998 by Mid-Atlantic Athletic Club (MAAC); since then, it has raised more than $200,000 for island charities benefiting women. Top female match-race teams compete in an annual championship qualifier for the prestigious King Edward VII Gold Cup International One design competition, also in October.
Should you need help or advice, the Women’s Resource Centre (58 Reid St., Hamilton, tel. 441/295-3882, crisis hotline 441/295-7273, fax 441/295-9833, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.) is the island’s prime advocacy group, and its services include emergency response, counseling, assistance for victims, and a crisis intervention hotline. Other women’s support and networking resources include the Business & Professional Women’s Association of Bermuda (21 Somerset Rd., Sandys, tel. 441/234-5733), and the Bermuda Junior Service League (tel. 441/332-2575, www.bjsl.bm).
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition