[www.inewsguyana.com] – Two female Parliamentarians, from opposite sides of the floor, have found common ground; agreeing that Guyana has made significant strides in ensuring the protection of its women and girls but continues to fail in some regards.
Speaking as members of a panel on this week’s edition of ‘Hard Talk’, Shadow Human Service Minister Volda Lawrence and Education Minister Priya Manickchand attested to deliberate efforts legislators and other non- governmental organizations have taken to ensure that women are protected and treated equally in Guyana.
Lawrence opened the discussion; pointing out that women in Guyana have been afforded opportunities to reach the highest office; reminding of Guyana’s first and only female President; the late Janet Jagan. “Several women have broken the glass ceiling,” Lawrence said; adding that notwithstanding the many legislative reforms, the nation continues to fail, particularly in the enforcement of those legislation which have given specific rights to women.
“Guyana has failed to protect its women in that we have not matched up actions,” Lawrence said to the agreement of Manickchand and the other female panelist and Social Advocate, Janelle Persaud.
Manickchand pointed out that the challenges that beset women are not unique to Guyana; explaining that globally women are poorer, go hungry more often, are more illiterate and are more unemployed than men. She said while women in several countries are not seen as equal to men, Guyana have come a far way in this regard.
The Education Minister identified a few of the many legislation which are in place to ensure the protection of women, including: domestic and sexual violence legislation and the medical termination of pregnancy legislative all of which she believes are very progressive. She also made mention of the institution in place to back up legislation such as the Women and Gender equality commission.
“Lots of legislation have been changed over the years but where we have fallen down is in the implementing of these legislation,” the Minister opined; adding that “we have not been as effective in implementation but some of these challenges take centuries to change and get it right.”
Manickchand said all Guyanese Can hold their head high and stand proud that as a nation women are recognized and protected.
In support, Persaud said “I am pleased with the progress we have made as a nation … and I am optimistic that there is hope get to place where we are all pleased with Guyana’s success and advancement.” The panelist spoke extensively on the issue of rape and women and agreed that the justice system is neither equipped nor trained to deal with the issue adequately.
Women were urged to be responsible in ensuring their own safety and protection even in the face of the many rights and privileges granted to them.