Guyana observes International Women’s Day

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Messages on International Women’s Day

 

international-womens-dayBy United States Ambassador to Guyana D. Brent Hardt

[www.inewsguyana.com] – International Women’s Day is more than a moment marked on a calendar.  It is a day not just to renew our determination to make the world a more peaceful and prosperous place — but to recognize that a world where opportunities for women grow is a world where the possibilities for peace, prosperity, and stability grow even more.  Countries that value and empower women to participate fully in decision-making are more stable, prosperous, and secure. 

 

The Obama Administration has made advancing the status of women and girls a central element of U.S. foreign policy, and the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown will continue to reach out to the Guyanese community to support and recognize women who are making a difference. 

 

In its early years, International Women’s Day honored the women’s rights movement, including advocating for the right to vote and hold public office, and for ending discrimination in the workplace.  Efforts to ensure equal rights and access for women have achieved notable success.  Throughout the world, more girls are in school today.  More women are in the workforce.  More women serve in public office. 

 

And more countries have passed laws recognizing and ensuring women’s equality.  Despite this progress, the struggle continues.  Women are still more likely to be among the world’s poorest, most prone to sickness, and most likely to be lacking in nutrition.  Today, International Women’s Day is observed as a time to reflect on progress, to advocate for even more change, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by women who have made a difference in their communities and countries.  This year’s Department of State theme is “Women, Peace, and Security,” and women in Guyana, and throughout the world, have worked diligently to achieve these noble goals.   

 

The Department of State has multiple and wide-ranging global initiatives to protect women and girls from violence, promote women’s social and economic development, and enhance women’s full participation in civic and political life.  Our Embassy is dedicated to supporting the development and empowerment of women and girls in Guyana.  Through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief, pregnant HIV positive mothers are assured to know their status and receive necessary preventative care so as to prevent infecting their unborn babies.

 

 

The Embassy continues to send women and girls from Guyana to the United States for special exchange programs so that they can network with other women and girls and develop their leadership and professional skills.  Some of our exchange programs of the past include themes such as:  Women’s Leadership and Political Participation, Combating Trafficking in Persons, Women’s Entrepreneurship, and Women’s Empowerment.  To date, our Youth Ambassadors Program has sent 15 girls to the United States for a leadership and service development program, and we continue to send women to be active participants in our International Visitor Leadership Program.

The U.S. Embassy has also helped to establish shelters for victims of domestic violence and our youth programs  have helped young women, and men, to develop skills that strengthen their qualifications for better economic opportunities.  Last year, the Embassy hosted a Women’s History Month film series with themes focusing on women’s empowerment; many of the films were also directed by women. 

 

Peace Corps Guyana sponsored Camp G.L.O.W. (Girls Leading Our World) in August — a camp with activities focused on teamwork, building self-esteem, goal-setting, decision-making, and creating healthy relationships and lifestyles.  It was an extraordinary event that helped to foster self-esteem and build support networks for Guyanese girls and young women. 

No country can succeed unless every citizen is empowered to contribute to its future.  So today, we mark the miles women have traveled around the world — but more importantly we commit to working together with members of the Guyanese public and private sectors to continue on the journey.

The Progressive Youth Organisation

The Progressive Youth Organisation of Guyana wishes to salute the gains made by women here in their pursuit to create a society where gender equality is paramount and endorsed by all. 

 

The PYO also wishes to record its full support for herculean efforts made by the Women’s Progressive Organisation in advancing the fight for equal rights and opportunities for all Guyanese women in their place of work, employment and the wider society. 

The PYO believes that the WPO and the grass root women which form its membership are deserving of praise for the achievements made in affording women the basic human rights and the ability to participate in the decision making processes of our democratic state. 

We would fall into gross error, were we not to recognize the stellar contributions made by Guyana’s first woman President, the late Comrade Janet Rosenberg Jagan to the fight for women’s rights in this country. 

Coincidently, this month is dedicated towards reflecting on her life and achievements. 

The PYO recalls that Mrs Janet Jagan was at the forefront of “inspiring change” in male-driven society which at the time of her entrance into Guyanese politics did not value the role of women in this process. 

Additionally, the PYO remembers Jane Phillips Gay and Jessie Burnham who also worked assiduously for women’s rights in our country. 

The organisation has also noted the admirable work done by several well-recognized Non-Governmental Organisations, religious bodies and civil society which, each day, champion the cause of women. 

Additionally, the PYO understands the important role played by women in almost every sphere of our economy and has noted their invaluable contribution to the growth and development of Guyana. 

As women across the world celebrate International Women’s Day under the theme “Inspire Change” and all of the other themes chosen by organisations such as the UN, the PYO wishes to call on all Guyanese to take a stance against the worrying trend of domestic abuse in our society. 

 

The PYO recognizes the efforts being made by the government to address this assault on women and therefore wishes to stress the need for all stakeholders to play an integral role in the fight against domestic violence. 

The PYO is proud of the trend of women’s development witnessed under the ruling People’s Progressive Party Civic and therefore salutes all female Ministers, legislators, party members and women in our society. 

 

Message of First Lady Deolatchmee Ramotar

 

Today I wish to extend greetings to all Guyanese women on the occasion of International Women’s Day.  As we observe this occasion it is important to reflect on the advancement women have made worldwide since this day was first celebrated in the early 1900’s.  Since then, the struggle undertaken by countless of ordinary women has today allowed us to live in a country and a world with greater gender equality. 

The sacrifice and efforts of many make it a norm today in many countries including Guyana for women to vote, to have access to education, to be leaders of countries and industries just to name a few. 

While these are achievements which must be celebrated and which should inspire us as we continue to strive to make our world a gender equal place, it is important that we realize that the struggle for gender equality is not yet over.  In fact it is a sad reality that it is not yet a norm for women to get equal pay for equal work, that in some parts of the world it is believed that it is not worthwhile to educate young girls, that female infanticide still continues and here in Guyana mental and physical abuse of women appear to be a daily occurrence. 

The United Nations is observing this year’s International Women’s Day under the theme of ‘Equality for women is progress for all’.  This is appropriate since, it has been proven that when women have access to employment it is indeed progress for all because the entire family is able to benefit since more of the income in reinvested within the home.

In Guyana we are quite fortunate that it is a norm for women to be attending schools – in fact a large percentage of women are graduating from the university and in fields of engineering that were once considered male only sectors – it is also a norm for women to be participating in the workforce and hold high offices both in the private and public sectors. 

Sadly, however, notwithstanding these achievements, we find that in their private lives some women are subjected to mental and physical abuse.  This is a serious cancer in our society that is fundamental violation of women’s rights, and shows that despite the advancements women are still not seen as being equal to men. 

 

While I know that the various Ministries and NGOs have programmes that are attempting to combat violence against women, it is important that there be more education and involvement at community level to eradicate this disease. 

 

Once more, my hope for all Guyanese women is that we reflect on our achievements as women in this society and recommit ourselves as we go forward striving for greater equality.  I wish you all the best for International Women’s Day 2014.

 

Women Progressive Organisation

Women the world over will celebrate International Women’s Day on the 8th March. Today, there is much to reflect on since this day has assumed a new dimension for women throughout the world – developed, or under-developed societies.  It has become the focal point for the evaluation of the coordinated efforts of women to secure women’s rights and equal participation in all aspects of life.

For many women in various parts of the world their dream of having the basic rights to make choices for themselves in a variety of ways is virtually impossible. Societal norms, traditional and religious beliefs have left millions of women without any recourse to their basic human rights.

As we reflect and observe this day we need to recognize that the journey has just begun for some while others have advanced.

As we reflect on the journey of 100 years and more it is necessary to assess the tremendous achievements made the world over for the right to vote, to be elected and to participate in the development of society. It was only two countries of the world prior to 1902 where women had the right to vote.   By the end of the 20th century women in 66 countries won that right. Over that century, women had reached positions of head of state or government in 93 countries.

Even though there are remarkable strides, a serious economic and social imbalance remained. Women own only one per cent of the world’s property and earn only 10% of the world’s income but perform 66% of the work and produce 50% of food.

A WHO study revealed that 20% of women worldwide experience sexual abuse as children. There are 5,000 honor killings per year; in South Africa one woman is killed every 6 hour by an intimate partner.  In India 22 women are murdered each day in dowry-related incidents. 80% of the world victims of human trafficking are women; 100-140 million girls have been the victims of Female Genital Mutilation, 60 million girls per year are forced into marriage as child brides and worldwide 25% of pregnant women are subjected to physical or sexual abuse.

Clearly, the world needs to do much more for women based on some of the statistics presented.

We in Guyana are indeed fortunate since women activism has been on the front burner since the early forties. A vibrant women’s movement has prompted many positive actions in propelling legislations and policies to advance the empowerment of women.

Let us all work together to reduce the incidence of violence against women and children while ensuring at the same time that  poor and single parents are given the necessary guidance and leadership to take charge of their lives positively.

We in the WPO believe that the women of Guyana have a lot to celebrate while acknowledging at the same time that we have a lot more to do.

We must collectively walk the talk so that the struggle by the garment workers who led the way for better conditions in 1857 must continuously inspire and energize the women who are in the forefront of the drive for increasing women’s empowerment.

The WPO wishes to use this occasion to salute its own stalwarts as well as those who have consistently championed the struggle for women’s equality; the foremost among them being its late President Mrs. Janet Jagan founder member of the WPEO and the WPO.

On the 8th March at 3.oop.m there will be an official activity organized by the WPO to celebrate International Women’s Day. 

 

 

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