Poverty is increasing among women
Kaieteur News – May 2, 2008
Minister within the Education Ministry, Dr Desrey Fox said that the feminisation of poverty is fast becoming popular and is resultant from various issues affecting women.
Dr Fox was speaking at the launch of the National Single Parent Register and commented on the fact that the majority of single parents are of the female gender.
“It is common knowledge that of all the single parents we have, few are men. The feminization of poverty is on the rise even in the United States and it extends to Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean,” Dr Fox said.
The Education Minister noted that from daily interfacing with parents, it is conclusive that women are solely responsible for the family’s welfare. “I have never seen a father who has come to me to discuss the education of a child,” Dr Fox remarked.
She added that this is indicative of the struggles facing women folk today. She stated that the reduction of poverty can only come through quality education which is enhanced with better healthcare.
According to Dr Fox, more emphasis should be placed on the nutrition and wellbeing of students.
She said that the Ministry would like to address these issues, especially with regards to a balanced diet.
Dr Fox applauded the initiative taken by the government to assist single parent households.
However, she pointed out that in order for the government to make informed decisions, parents must first register.
Amerindian Affairs Minister, Pauline Sukhai-Campbell, agreed that the vulnerability of women increases with poverty especially in the hinterland communities.
Mrs Sukhai-Campbell said that the Ministry is aggressively pursuing the distribution of forms to prompt a level of independence for the women.
The Minister lamented that girls and teenagers close to mining areas are forced into early sexual activity and motherhood.
“And the issue of absent fathers is particularly worrying when these girls are at a very vulnerable age in terms of providing for their children.”
She commended the initiative which she said extends to male headed and non-biological headed households.
Public Service Minister, Dr Jennifer Westford, endorsing her colleagues, estimated the number of single-parent households at less than 54,000.
She said the register will allow for an accurate database and will be examined to ensure the intervention is long term.
Westford stated that there has already been an increase in salaries and other initiatives to ensure Guyanese can survive on a living wage.
With food prices skyrocketing, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security announced, Monday, that the register will aid in cushioning the high cost of living.
The move is targeting women who act as sole financial anchors, and caregivers of the sick, elderly or disabled. It also targets men who run single-parent households.
Human Services Minister, Priya Manickchand, noted that registration began on April 24 and will continue until May 15.
She disclosed that over 200,000 forms were printed and are available at the Ministry, all schools and at the National and Regional Democratic Councils.
According to the Minister, the registration phase is a data gathering process to indicate the quantity of applicants and their varying needs.
While it is too early to decide on the type of assistance that will be made available, Minister Manickchand said appropriate action will be determined through the data analysis.
“I’ve met women who said they didn’t want money but just some sort of skills training so the types of intervention will vary depending on the need,” the Minister said.
She added that failure to register would exclude such persons from any intervention decided on by the Ministry.