Women's Issues In Guyana


She asked for it!

Posted in Commentary,Domestic Violence,Stella Says by wiig on January 12, 2011

(Originally published in Guyana’s Kaieteur News on 12 January 2011)

Just before the “Break the Silence, Stop the Violence” rally last November, I was on television almost daily to promote the rally. As a result, many people would come up to me and tell me their thoughts on the subject of domestic violence. I was more than a bit surprised by the number of women who would insist that if a woman marries a man who she knows is violent or stays in a relationship with a man who is violent – then she deserves the violence.

Do women who stay with abusers deserve the abuse? Let me say up front that this is the wrong question to start with, the questions we should be asking are: Why do assailants terrorize and torture their partners? Why is it that the vast majority of batterers are men and the vast majority of survivors are women? Why does society allow the abuse to continue?

However, for the sake of addressing this widespread belief – that the woman asked for the abuse – let’s list some of the many reasons why women stay in abusive relationships. Many believe that if an abused woman really and truly wanted to leave an abusive relationship, she would pack up her things and go. However, this conclusion ignores the environmental barriers that prevent women from leaving the abuser. (more…)

Guyana’s 2010 Woman of the Year

Posted in Commentary,Stella Says by wiig on January 9, 2011

(Originally published in Guyana’s Kaieteur News on 09 January 2011)

My male colleagues have made their choices for those they admired in 2010. Peeping Tom chose Glenn Lall as Man of the Year (nice choice) and Freddie wrote of a list of people from 2010 that he admires. Therefore, I would be remiss if I did not name my own selection for a female who deserves to be recognised.

I have met so many wonderful Guyanese women this year – women who have persevered through the most difficult of circumstances, women who are still struggling and doing it with valour, and women who dedicate their lives to helping others. Each one of these women has made a significant impact on me.

That being said, my choice for Woman of the Year 2010 is Varshnie Singh. When I met Varshnie in September of 2010, we met at my hotel and her easy-going demeanour put me at ease from the very start. To be sure, we were both probably a bit wary of the other since she came from a life of politics and me being a journalist. The first thing she did was ask the taxi driver (she did not have a car to drive at this point) to drive me around town as she showed me sights that no one had yet taken the time to show me. (more…)

A welcome move

Posted in Commentary,Culture & Society by wiig on April 16, 2008
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Guyana Chronicle – April 16, 2008

Dear Editor,

The Government of Guyana has set aside one hundred million dollars in this year’s budget to help single parents. There are thousands of women in Guyana without a husband, but they have many children to feed and send to schools. Many of them are uneducated; do not have any skills to acquire a decently paid job. They are finding it hard to cope with everyday living.

Many of them have their children fathers alive. Those husbands that are alive simply turned their backs against their wives and children and do not care how they exist or whether the children go school or beg.

Government over the years has been providing help to the vulnerable group through the poverty reduction programmes. Therefore the decision by the Government to move in this direction to help single parents is most welcome.

Baldeo Persaud

Closing Channel 6 is way of trying to shut up poor people

Posted in Commentary,Culture & Society by wiig on April 14, 2008
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Stabroek News – April 14, 2008

Dear Editor,

We are writing this early on Saturday morning to strongly condemn the decision by the President to close down Channel 6.

Closing down Channel 6 is a way of trying to shut us up as poor people. Mr. Sharma’s station gave poor women and men a voice. Poor people are suffering and the Voice of the People was our main avenue for expressing this. Day after day people have been telling the stories of our suffering on Channel 6 and we never heard anything back from the President but as soon as a poor woman said something threatening in her frustration he suddenly got interested. How sad!

The lives of poor women are under threat every single day. Look at the burdens of the economic situation. Look at all the violence around us. We the poor people are the ones facing this every single day of our lives. We have no protection whatsoever.   (more…)

More public health facilities will be providing an abortion service; is that desirable?

Posted in Commentary,Health Issues by wiig on March 24, 2008
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Stabroek News – March 24, 2008

Dear Editor,

On Al Jazeera news of 25th December we were informed that births in Israel during 2007 was the lowest over the last four years and that during the said year approximately 20000 persons emigrated from Israel, while approximately the same number immigrated to Israel. This, we were led to believe, is a serious concern of the Government of Israel. We know that Canada, in recent years, has been making it easy for outsiders to take up residence there. In Denmark and other Scandinavian countries they are seeking to increase the population by taking measures to encourage citizens to have as many children as possible. Women are offered extremely favorable time away from work, plus tax relief on the birth of every child. Last time I checked they were considering similar time off from work for fathers. All of this became necessary since the population is aging. This aging population was on the cards. Young people in these countries, in keeping with the belief of many in the developed world, that personal material comfort supersedes all else, were inclined to have no more than one or two children, for they perceive children as a burden on their pockets and demanding of their time. (more…)

Isn’t it time those of us in authority begin leading by example?

Posted in Arts,Commentary,Culture & Society by wiig on March 23, 2008

Kaieteur News – March 23, 2008

Dear Editor,

I consider myself to be a fairly open-minded person; and being an advocate for education, teachers are some of the most special people to me. A proud Guyanese, I also love the fact that our talented local artistes are obtaining deserved success, with the accompanying recognition.

I love all of these talented people and Malo, Vanilla and Adrian Dutchin are some of the people that I personally feel have the ‘prerequisites’ to contend with other performers, anywhere in the world.

You can therefore imagine my disappointment and consternation, when, while perusing the Kaieteur News, I came across an article by Mondale Smith, titled, “Hundreds thrilled at KK annual school show”, which painted a vivid picture of the event, which was dubbed a success. (more…)

The UN campaign to end violence against women is most welcome

Letter to Editor of Stabroek News – March 7, 2008

Dear Editor,

I write to commend you on your fine editorial captioned “It can’t wait” which appeared in SN on Saturday, March 01. It seems to have been spurred by the fact that on the previous Monday, “UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched a multi-year global campaign bringing together the United Nations, governments and civil society to try to end violence against women.”

I confess to coming within an inch of dancing in the streets over the news of this UN campaign. I hope that it will be vigorously and resolutely pursued in a sustained way, and that SN and its women writers will contribute significantly towards keeping this matter on the front burner where it most certainly belongs.

I had expected to see swarms of letters in SN from women and women’s groups on this very, very important topic. Did I miss something? But perhaps the Guyanese society is still in shock and still trying to come to terms with the recent horrific manifestations of man’s inhumanity to man that need to be denounced unequivocally in the strongest terms. (more…)

Through a woman’s eyes: And the battle continues

Posted in Commentary,Gender Equality by wiig on March 2, 2008
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By Cheryl Springer
Stabroek News – March 2, 2008

It has been hundreds of years since women were burned at the stake after being “convicted” of witchcraft. Strides have been made in terms of equal opportunity in what is still a patriarchal world and in three years, the centenary year of International Women’s Day will be celebrated. But the battle continues.

That is, the fight to end the oppression of women. Perhaps it is not as fiercely fought as before or as it should be, but it continues nevertheless.On Saturday, women (and men) around the world will celebrate International Women’s Day with rallies, conferences, craft fairs, theatrical performances, fashion parades, pageants or any activity which they feel best suits the occasion.

In some countries, March 8 has taken on the significance of Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day among men, who buy presents for their mothers, wives, daughters, girlfriends and sometimes even for workmates. In other places, some people genuinely have no clue. Some men are not interested because they would prefer not to have a shift in the balance of power, and some younger women because they have never had to struggle for the right to do anything. (more…)

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