Guyana’s governing and opposition political parties are offering two very different pictures of women in Guyana, as the country joins the international community in celebrating International Women’s Day.
But across the political divide there has been acknowledgement that more has to be done to protect women from gender-based violence and to strengthen the capacity of more women to take on leadership positions and become strong drivers of economic growth and social change.
A message from the Ministry of the Presidency says the government salutes and celebrates the achievements of Guyanese women, and women all across the globe on this occasion and remember women’s struggles for equality, for the right to education, for the right to vote, for the right to work, for the right to fair remuneration and access to support services.
“Today, I applaud their perseverance and accomplishments and commit to supporting initiatives that acknowledge their human rights,” Social Cohesion Minister Dr. George Norton said.
He said he is proud to sit at the helm of a Ministry that promotes and fights for women’s rights, and equality for both men and women.
The Ministry of Social Cohesion was birthed by a vision to create a country where all are equal, regardless of race, religion, gender or any other demographic.
“As the Minister charged with the responsibility for Sport, I also want to underscore the importance of equal participation of girls and boys in sports as it teaches the values of perseverance and discipline.”
He believes that as a country, Guyana has made significant strides in in ensuring equality and equity.
Meanwhile, the opposition People’s Progressive Party in its greeting and best wishes to women said this year’s UN theme “Time is now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives” is most applicable to Guyana.
The PPP recalled women’s participation in political struggle for human rights and democracy and said it sees movement forward on too few relevant issues such as economic empowerment of women.
The PPP used the occasion to place on record it’s condemnation of the suffering being endured by the women in the sugar belt where estates have been shut and calls on the Government to immediately to put comprehensive programmes in place to alleviate the punishment of the women workers, entrepreneurs and housewives alike.
“This day was set aside to raise awareness of the beauty and effectiveness in advancing a country generally with the tangible contributions once women were empowered in every field and sector. This intention needs to be realised in our land,” the statement said.
The PPP is also encouraging women to stand firm in defending their hard fought for achievements and to unite actively to advance their economic and political empowerment for the betterment of themselves, their children, communities and nation.