As political parties put the final touches to their Lists of Candidates ahead of tomorrow’s Nomination Day, one local Non-Governmental Organization has come forward expressing its dissatisfaction with the participation of women in the upcoming Local Government Elections.
Guyanese have not voted in local government polls for over two decades. They will head to the polls on March 18, 2016.
The Guyanese Women’s Roundtable (GWR) group is urging more women participation in the upcoming elections, not only as voters but candidates as well.
GWR Chairperson Dawn Stewart led the charge and said “women in Guyana are the majority of voters, yet we fail to exercise our franchise thus reducing our capacity to leverage our power to change our life and the lives of our families”.
The GWR initiative seeks to increase the number of women from diverse communities who are actively engaged in local government decision-making. GWR believes it is necessary that officials create a more inclusive municipal decision-making system, which includes the participation of women from diverse communities in advisory committees, local agencies, boards, and commissions.
“It is also just as important that women demand a space at the decision-making table and not sit idly by as decisions are made that affect their lives and the lives of their grand and great grandchildren,” Ms Stewart added.
She further explained that women’s involvement in direct elections has been proven to demonstrate a more open society, responsive to changing social realities.
The group believes that the inclusion of women in the local councils will improve the perception about women’s ability to participate in governance and produce results for their constituencies.
Political Parties are expected to submit Lists of Candidates to the Guyana Elections Commission on Tuesday, January 26. These elections also make provisions for the submission of names from voluntary groups and by individual candidates.