The offerings in the 2016 budget for women in Guyana have been met with dissatisfaction by several female opposition Members of Parliament.
The matter was ventilated in the National Assembly on Tuesday with MP Vindya Persaud taking the lead in advancing the opposition’s charge.
“There is nothing in the budget for women,” she declared, while claiming that gender imbalance was a hallmark of the government.
To explain her point, Persaud pointed to the non-inclusion of women among the four appointed Vice Presidents and the significant imbalance of women in the Cabinet.
The opposition MP slammed the government on its limited targeted assistance for women in both its 2015 and 2016 budget.
She said she is tempted to slip the finance Minister a note with advice on what should be included in the budget for women. Prior to her presentation, Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira also criticized the provisions for women in the budget. She called for the return of the Women of Worth (WOW) programme to assist women in entrepreneurial ventures.
Teixeira also wanted the return of the ‘Because we care’ school grant which she said will go a long way in assisting single parents who are largely women.
That grant was started under the PPP just one year before elections and a PPP Cabinet Sub-Committee had advised it be brought to an end before the party was booted out of office.
In his budget speech, Finance Minister Winston Jordan spoke on the promoting of gender equality and said the government is working assiduously to develop a society in which all girls and boys, women and men live together in safety and harmony, with dignity and mutual respect.
He said to enable all Guyanese to thrive in an environment in which they achieve their full potential and are equal partners in the decision-making processes, the government had committed to establishing a national consultative process, to create a national policy on gender and development.
“This undertaking is expected to strengthen gender responsive structures, processes and mechanisms supporting development in which both women and men participate equally in the development efforts and have access to and benefit from the utilization of the country’s resources,” he said.
The National Gender Policy will be launched, in 2016.