Women's Issues In Guyana

Grassroots women in moves to hold politicians to campaign promises

Posted in Activism,Politics by wiig on March 24, 2007
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Stabroek News – March 24, 2007

Forty-eight women from across the country have launched a campaign to write to political leaders about the issues affecting them as a way of dealing with the “unfulfilled promises” made to them .They say they are holding the parties in Parliament accountable to all grassroots women for the promises made in their manifestoes at the time of national elections in relation to a living income; affordable access to goods and services; protection of women and children from violence and a strong political voice for all women. The women decided on these four priorities last year.

The group held a press briefing on Thursday to officially launch their campaign which is being supported by Red Thread and Canada Fund.

According to the group, no one works more hours than grassroots women. They said that in a survey of women’s time use in 2004-2005, grassroots women in Red Thread followed the workdays of over 100 other grassroots Indo- and Afro-Guyanese, Indigenous and mixed race women and found that the typical work day for most of them was 14-18 hours. During this period there is very little leisure or free time.

For the indigenous women, an absence of electricity sees them packing all their work into the daylight hours and where there is no running water they have to visit the creek several times.  (more…)


Not Old Higue Murder

Guyana Chronicle – May 18, 2007

Dear Editor,

LIKE many other people, the women of Red Thread have been shocked into silence by the brutal killing of Mrs. Radika Singh, a mentally disabled woman who wandered away from the relatives she lived with and found herself in another village where she was confronted by angry residents who called her all kinds of ugly names and beat her with sticks and other objects until she died.

From reports, what “justified” this brutality was that the residents of the village identified her as an “Ole Higue”; in other words, she wasn’t a human being. We confess that we don’t understand what it means to look at a person and see a monster that deserves such inhumanity.

From the reports, residents of the village did not try to render assistance to Mrs. Singh; she was just left there to die. We can only hope that this was not true of everyone.  (more…)

Mission possible

Posted in Crimes against Women by wiig on March 17, 2007
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Stabroek News – March 17, 2007

This week, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security has been able to present the kind of ‘feel good’ news that is so scarce today. Not only has the ministry quietly begun its ‘Mission Child Protection’ campaign, but also in just three days of starting it, officers had managed to rescue 37 children from the streets. Of course, rescuing them is just the beginning of the uphill task ahead, which ultimately, one hopes, would see them never returning to the streets. However, having read the plan as outlined by Minister Priya Manickchand and her officers in a report in this newspaper on Tuesday, one gets the good feeling that they have considered this and there is a plan B.

‘Mission Child Protection’, much like the operation that had seen the same ministry under Ms Manickchand’s predecessor undertake to get aged street people into the Night Shelter, involves officers trawling the areas where street children are known to be. The officers were able to pick up 37 children ranging in ages from four years old to 15 years old, with no resistance from any of them, and take them to a home, which had previously been set up specifically for this purpose. This speaks volumes. The first thing that is obvious is that these children wanted to be rescued, and this shatters the common perception about street children. It also bodes well for the success of the programme, notwithstanding the fact that once they are taken off the streets, parents and guardians must also take some responsibility for keeping their children off the streets. The second observation is the stark reality of just how vulnerable these children really are. (more…)

A dark shadow

Posted in Gender Equality by wiig on March 13, 2007
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Guyana Chronicle – March 13, 2007

RECENTLY, U.S. Presidential hopeful and former First Lady, Hillary Clinton told an audience that her quest for the White House was partly a drive to break the “highest and hardest glass ceiling”, the Presidency of the United States.

If the race for the White House becomes one based on the sex of the candidate, Clinton should be the next President of America.

As one article notes, women constitute more than half the U.S. electorate. It also noted that Clinton won more than half the women vote in her senatorial run.

Of course, the issue is not as clear cut as simple sexual demographics. Mrs. Clinton is a popular Democrat with not the best record regarding her association with scandals, and will most likely be up against John McCain – a popular Republican with no discernible scandal in his past.

More importantly however, the clincher will be – providing she even gets the Democratic nomination – that she is a woman. America, the country which defined democracy within the last century, has never had a woman President and there is no indication that it will come 2008. (more…)

IWD finds women being less restricted—WPO

Posted in Gender Equality by wiig on March 9, 2007
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Kaieteur News – March 9, 2007

The Women’s Progressive Organisation (WPO), the women’s arm of the ruling People’s Progressive Party, yesterday held a symposium, at Freedom House, in celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2007.

The convention, which was attended by scores of women, reflected on the struggles of women over the years and on some of the important events that paved the way for the worldwide event.

Indranie Chandarpal, General Secretary of the WPO, detailed the role of women in politics and examined the role of the WPO in the country’s political life.

She noted that after the formation of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in 1950, the WPO was formed in 1953 solely for the empowerment of women, since women were not included in society in a just way.

Chandarpal added that many women were without a proper education and they had limited access to jobs and involvement in decision-making in society.  (more…)

Human Services Ministry launches Directory of Women’s Organisations

Posted in Business,Culture & Society by wiig on March 9, 2007
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Kaieteur News – March 9, 2007

The reality that women have advanced their status and become more visible in society does not mean that their struggle for peace and equality has ended.

This notion was voiced by Human Services Minister, Priya Manickchand, when she launched a Directory of Women’s Organisations in observance of International Women’s Day yesterday.

The Minister said as Guyana joined the rest of the world in observances, efforts must be made to reflect on the progress women made in the struggle for equality, peace and development.

“We should use this opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women across the world and particularly in Guyana …they have made extraordinary advances and played an extraordinary role in the development of communities and the country as a whole.” (more…)

Combating violence against women requires inter-sectoral effort – WAB

Posted in Crimes against Women by wiig on March 9, 2007
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Kaieteur News – March 9, 2007

Attempts to combat the social problem of violence against women must become an inter-sectoral effort since the Human Services Ministry cannot do it alone.

Head of the Human Services Women’s Affairs Bureau, Ms Hymawattie Lagan, made this disclosure yesterday as the Ministry and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation joined forces to address violence against women.

The Ministry, in collaboration with the Rights of Children (ROC) Group, which in addition to children rights advocates for the prevention of violence against women, was able to setup a display of billboards at the hospital.

The billboards consist of special messages which, according to Ms Lagan, are intended to heighten awareness as well as to encourage people to help prevent violence.

And since the hospital is often the first place to address the results of some violent acts, Ms Lagan said that the GPHC was considered a suitable place for the erection.

Ms Lagan and the Human Services Minister, Priya Manickchand, also unveiled a plaque recognising the collaboration between the hospital and the Human Services Ministry. (more…)

A woman’s lot is unpleasant, for now

Posted in Gender Equality,Law Enforcement by wiig on March 9, 2007
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Kaieteur News – March 9, 2007

Yesterday, International Women’s Day came and with it, the grim reminder that women are still victims of just about every abuse under the sun. They are the victims of human trafficking, sexual abuse, domestic violence and even objects of discrimination.

In this male-dominated world, there was a time when the woman was merely an object. She was supposed to present herself to her spouse at his whims and fancy, raise any children that the union might produce and keep the surroundings clean. In some societies this is still the case.

India, considered the world’s largest democracy, is fighting to end certain practices that tend to reduce the status of women to little above chattel. For example, the practice of suttee (a now illegal act) is still considered by some to be the best thing to happen in the life of a woman whose husband dies before her. She is expected to join him on the funeral pyre since she is considered useless once the husband dies.

In parts of Africa, especially in Ethiopia, a girl, on attaining puberty, was expected to present herself to have her sexual organ sewed and remain that way until she is married. Some are circumcised since the woman is not expected to enjoy a sexual encounter. (more…)

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