Women's Issues In Guyana

WPO calls for reflection on progress and challenges

Posted in Activism,Education,Gender Equality by wiig on March 8, 2008
Tags: , , ,

Guyana Chronicle – March 8, 2008

THE Women’s Progressive Organisation (WPO) is calling on Guyanese to see today’s observance of International Women’s Day as a time of reflection and commitment – “reflection on our achievements and challenges, and making a commitment to become an active part of the process for continued transformation, peace and social progress in Guyana.”

The WPO said in a statement that today is a day to draw attention to and raise awareness of the struggles for women’s rights and equality, and also to celebrate the achievements that have been gained to date.

“Many have used this platform to demonstrate their desire for improved living and working conditions and overall democracy transformations, as well as for international solidarity, peace and social progress,” the WPO stated.

The organisation said that since its inception, it has commemorated March 8 as a day to specifically focus on the plight and achievements of Guyanese women.

Dr. Cheddi Jagan, late leader and co-founder of the PPP, and Janet Jagan, President of the WPO and also co- founder of the Party, realized that there could not be democracy and development without the full and equal participation of women in every aspect of life – political, economic, social and cultural, the WPO stated.

The organisation said this paradigm has since guided and inspired the WPO “to work for the betterment of our people, and specifically our Guyanese women and children,” while still conscious of the struggles and challenges of sister organizations across the globe and to whom we extend our unconditional support and solidarity.

The WPO said the recent massacres of Lusignan and Bartica have brought to the fore many new challenges including the need to protect at all costs women and children from further tragedies of this nature.

The healing of the family survivors and overcoming the psychological trauma will probably be a lifelong process, the WPO stated, noting that it would like the grieving families and friends to know that its entire membership stand by them in this most trying time.

The organization said it also wholeheartedly supports the initiatives of the Ministry of Human Services in providing counselling and other forms of assistance to those affected.

The WPO took note of the advancement of Guyanese women over the years.

According to 2002 statistics, over 50% of the Guyanese workforce are women; females made up of 65% of UG graduates in 2002; and 46% and 43 % of judges and magistrates respectively are women. Many more examples could be cited, including women holding high level positions in the legislature, judiciary and the executive arms of Government, the WPO noted.

Nevertheless, the organisation said many challenges remain. It said the large percentage of female-headed households is alarming and brings to the fore many economic and social issues.

So also are the issues of violence against women and the spread of HIV/AIDS, the WPO noted.

While the Government programmes such as the national consultation “Stamp it out” and the National AIDS Programme Secretariat are doing commendable work, “it is imperative that all Guyanese join in to rid our society from the scourge of disease and violence.”

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