More women needed in the Business sector – Patricia Bacchus
By Bibi Khatoon
As the fight continues for gender equality in the workplace, there is need for more women at the helm of private and public organizations.
In her address at the Canadian High Commission and Government sponsored International Women’s Day (IWD) event at the Promenade Gardens on Saturday afternoon, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Caribbean Containers Incorporated and Chair of the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest, Patricia Bacchus noted that businesses, whether on their own accord or with the help of legislation, must put systems in place that promote gender parity.
Bacchus pointed out that while society has come a long way since the interception of IWD in 1911, there is still too much discrimination of women in the workplace.
At a gathering of over 600 persons from various walks of life, she noted that companies need to start by changing their recruitment process to be more inclusive.
“Traditional roles and its related biases most times manifest themselves during the recruitment and hiring process. Very often, applications from women are not even considered because employers have a preconceived notion that the job requirements are not appropriate to be carried by a woman. This is common in fields such as engineering, equipment operations, manufacturing and other technical disciplines. Many employers instead, seek to hire women for support roles such as secretaries or janitorial staff,” Bacchus said.
To correct this, the Chairperson and CEO said human resources policy must align with non-discriminatory practices which support merit based recruitment. She said a woman must be involved in the recruitment process or names and genders must be removed from applications before they are considered.
“The preconceived notion is what continues to hold us back,” Bacchus emphasized.
She also called for continued mentoring of women in the workplace to help them to excel.
Turning her attention to the pay gap, she emphasized there is nothing that can justify such.
Like the Women and Gender Equality Commission, she recommended paternity leave. Consideration, Bacchus said should also be given to state day cares to provide a service to working mothers.
Meanwhile, in her address, Lilian Chatterjee, Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, referred to a statement made by the Canadian Prime Minister as she pointed to the importance of empowering women.
“None of us can move forward if half of us are held back.”
The event also saw address from First Lady Sandra Granger and Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally who outlined programmes being offered by the Government to improve the lives of women and help them overcome their circumstances –from teen mothers to those who would like a supplemented income.
Today’s event included performances from Calypso winner, Onicka Joseph who did her winning piece ‘Woman is Boss’ and several other local artistes.
There were also booths set up by various entities such as STEM Guyana, the Muslim Sisters organization, the Canadian High Commission, Republic Bank and others. Most of the booths were manned by women employed by the agencies.