Women's Issues In Guyana

The festive season was fun for some women, but for many not

Posted in Gender Equality by wiig on January 10, 2011

(Originally published in Guyana’s Kaieteur News on 10 January 2011)

Dear Editor,

The joy and festivities of the Christmas season is now over, a new year has dawned and many sincere prayers have been whispered, new resolutions made and wishes for a new beginning, that life will be good, wonderful and beautiful. A dream that many dream, try to embrace, to search for, but sad to say, not all will be realised, not all will come true.

But there is hope as there is continued life, as the struggle continues for a better tomorrow, as strong hands reach out and persistent, caring voices take up the mantle to fight the monster of domestic violence.

For even during this Christmas season, when there should have been joy and happiness, there was for many, tears and sadness. Sitting at a small gift shop in a corner in the market, talking to a friend, the sad stories of some women passed that way.

The lady who put down her laden basket and sighed in despair, “The cooking, the baking and all the work, my body will be so tired, how can I enjoy anything? He’ll be having all the fun, there’s hardly a day for me.”  (more…)


Women in politics

Posted in Gender Equality,Politics by wiig on January 7, 2011

(Originally published in Guyana’s Stabroek News on 07 January 2011)

Mrs Mara Thompson, the widow of the prime minister of Barbados David Thompson, announced last week that she was contesting the January 20, 2011 by-election for the St John parish seat which became vacant on the death of her husband in October last year. The announcement was apparently unexpected in Barbados since some 12 candidates – from the Democratic Labour Party which the late David Thompson had led – had earlier expressed interest in contesting for the constituency, but certainly not surprising around the world; Mrs Thompson has simply joined the ranks of women who have either stepped up their activity, or entered the political arena following the deaths or resignations of their husbands or fathers.

It has been generally held that the women in the lives of male political figures, particularly their wives or daughters, would be in the best position to know the plans these men would have had and perhaps best suited to carry them forward. This was certainly the vibe coming from Mrs Thompson when she announced her willingness to serve the people of the St John parish.

It would have also been for this reason that Sonia Gandhi, widow of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was prodded by his peers in the Indian National Congress party to take his place. Mrs Gandhi only did so six years after her husband’s death, but hers has been a success story. She has been president of the party for 12 years as well as chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance, though she declined the post of prime minister for altruistic reasons. (more…)

Poverty is increasing among women

Posted in Culture & Society,Gender Equality by wiig on May 2, 2008
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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.   (more…)

A housewife’s dilemma – coping with the increasing cost of living

Posted in Culture & Society,Gender Equality by wiig on April 28, 2008
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Kaieteur News – April 28, 2008
By Rustom Seegopaul

“Coducta, yuh gun stop me by de corna comin’ nah,” calls out Saleema Khan.

As she climbs out of the minibus onto the street, she thinks ahead of what she has to buy at the market – a mental list of the things she needs to buy for the house and for her family. These are the things that will have to take them through the coming week, and the list is already in her head.

As Saleema ventures into the market and hears the calls of vendors echoing through the passageways of the Bourda Market, she tightens her grip on her handbag, knowing that she holds the sustenance of her family for the coming week. She is careful with this money. With the price of just about everything going up, she knows she has to spend it wisely and that she cannot afford to be robbed.

She slowly walks from stall to stall, checking each stall’s prices before she makes a purchase. She is a member of the poorer class of Guyana’s people. Like most of the others within her demography, Saleema has a spouse with a low-income job, children to feed, and a house to run.

Prices of everything all around her are rising; from gasoline to rice, prices are higher.    (more…)

Teachers targeted to help register single parents

Posted in Culture & Society,Gender Equality by wiig on April 23, 2008
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– to benefit from $100M fund

Guyana Chronicle – April 23, 2008

HEADTEACHERS of various schools, particularly in the nursery section, have been targeted by the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security to help in the single parents’ registration process countrywide.

A sum of $100M was allocated from this year’s Budget for the setting up of a fund to provide support to vulnerable single parents.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Priya Manickchand, yesterday met headteachers of several nursery schools in Georgetown to discuss the importance of their role in this process.

Minister Manickchand told the teachers at the North Ruimveldt Multilateral School that the Government recognised that single parents are most affected due to the increasing food prices.

More than 100 registration forms were distributed to the various teachers. A form will be given to each student who will ensure that their parents received it, and if in need, apply for the benefits.   (more…)

Health sector requires partnerships to realise MDGs

Posted in Gender Equality,Health Issues by wiig on April 22, 2008
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Kaieteur News – April 22, 2008

The media, as a partner with the health sector, has a critical role to play in understanding health issues before disseminating these to the public.

This is the view of local Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Representative Dr Kathleen Israel.
Dr Israel was at the time commenting on the efforts that are being made to ensure that countries of the Americas are able to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are aimed at reducing maternal and child health deaths by 2015.

According to the PAHO Representative, the Government by itself can in no way introduce and implement effectively all of the measures that are needed to be taken in order to realise the MDGs or any other public health goals.

She pointed out that there is always need for partnership, and added that it was for this reason that PAHO’s temporary Consultant, Dr Patricio Jamriska, had travelled to Guyana last week.   (more…)

Single-parent mothers to earn income through cake décor

Posted in Business,Culture & Society,Gender Equality by wiig on April 22, 2008
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Kaieteur News – April 22, 2008

With the aim of empowering local single-parent women to better care for themselves and their children, a cake decoration course is slated to commence this week; it will attract several of these women.

All fees for the programme will be paid for by the Benschop Foundation, which has for some time now been reaching out to a number of vulnerable persons in society to bring some level of relief through various means of assistance.

According to Public Relations Officer of the Foundation, Olive Gopaul, the programme will target ten unemployed women between Agricola, East Bank Demerara, and Georgetown.

She disclosed that the programme was conceptualized after it was observed that several single mothers are not in a position to be independent, although it is required of them.   (more…)

New horizons for teenage girls with children

Posted in Education,Gender Equality by wiig on April 17, 2008
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Guyana Chronicle – April 17, 2008

Teenage girls who became pregnant while at school, now have the chance in a life time to regain their self-esteem and face mainstream society with a new sense of hope and security that will dictate the path of their future. It has now become possible for these “unfortunate mothers” to re-gain their self-esteem and make their triumphal entry into mainstream society, through a programme launched to re-integrate teenage mothers into schools.

We welcome this initiative by the Ministry of Education and hope that these ‘unfortunate mothers’ who were forced out of the schools’ system would grasp at the opportunity that would enable them to face society in a dignified and independent manner later in life.

We subscribe to the view that several factors might have forced these young women to follow the path of destruction, but it is not too late for them to take corrective measures, and the Ministry of Education has cast the dice and it is for them now to take up the challenge. We do not believe that society should turn its back on these people, for the mistake they have made early in life. Instead we should do all we can to help them re-integrate in society in order for them to carry on with their lives in a moral and civilised manner.   (more…)

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