‘Women have unlimited potential’—Pres. Ali says at Women’s Empowerment Expo
President Irfaan Ali has described Guyanese women as strong, driven, and committed and declared that more needs to be done to not only promote their interests but to give them opportunities to progress.
The Head-of-State told the audience at the launch of the WE LIFT- Women’s Empowerment Expo at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre – on Saturday that there should be daily reflections on the hard work that women around the world are tasked with doing. He noted that many factors inhibit female potential, but that women rise above and perform with admiration.
“I don’t have the capability to understand the level of challenges that a woman would go through in her life cycle… but women have in them the potential to do anything.”
The President added that in his view, not only are women designed stronger than men but that beyond the strength, they exhibit an “inner soul” which is transformational and essential in any society and in any country.
He said that women epitomise care, love, patience, and commitment and are the glue that keeps everything intact. At the local level, the President explained that there are many women in key positions. He made mention of his female Ministers, some of whom were at the venue, and stated that Guyanese women are innovative, motivated and that their resourcefulness is unmatched.
President Ali, who was at the time delivering the feature address at the launch of the two-day event leading up to International Women’s Day on Monday, noted that despite the drive, women are faced with many challenges that impede their efforts.
He referred to the challenges women have, especially single-parent mothers, in accessing loans and pointed out that not just the Government, but the private sector also need to have renewed systems in place.
The President highlighted that women play an integral role in the family and are essential in the transformation of Guyana. He said that changing the country starts with changing communities, changing homes and in every facet of that change women will be involved.
President Ali noted that a strong family empowers their female members and creates a cycle of development.
“We cannot change this country community by community unless we develop a family. Unless we sit as families. We change the way families think. And when you combine that change you get community change, then you get national change. The value of more empowered families is important in the advancement of women. Also, stronger families are critical in supporting women.”
He said too that his intention is to promote more jobs that will benefit women, including call centres, which can earn additional income for housewives.
President Ali said that he is happy to see a global trend of women getting more opportunities and accomplishing more than generations before. At home, he said that he was pleased to recently learn that a significant percentage of the Young Professional Homes will be taken up by females.
“It tells a story that the message, the culture, and the stereotype is changing to the extent that young women today see themselves as providing their own opportunities, owning their own homes.”
He said that this is very important for empowerment and for the building of confidence. Despite these changes, the President still feels that more needs to be done.
“The new generation of women, many of whom we saw earlier are starting at a far superior level than those before them. They are starting on a far better platform, but they cannot relax. That is why I think from a government perspective, from a societal perspective, we have to look at a national approach in which we mainstream issues and challenges of women into the policy framework of the country itself.”
The Head-of-State closed by stating that he was heartened with the drive of Guyanese females and their innovation on display.
“I congratulate you because of the great role you have played in the lives of every Guyanese. I congratulate you because of your commitment, your dedication, your patience, your love, your tolerance and your belief that you can be a positive influence and change in our country. Together, we can. Together, we will. I ask every single woman in this room, and across Guyana to join with me in building One Guyana in which all of us can be proud to be part of.”
GENDER BASE VIOLENCE APP
At the opening ceremony, the President also participated in the official launch of the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) App—which was done under the Spotlight initiative and which is a unique collaboration between the European Union, the United Nations and the Government of Guyana.
The app gives the average Guyanese woman resources at her fingertips, if she is experiencing violence, or if she would like to learn more about the resources available to counter it. Along with the President, the launch included powerful pieces by Young Influences (including songs and skits) and remarks by Minister of Human Services and Social Security Dr. Vindhya Persaud.
After the launch, the President interacted with visitors and persons with booths at the venue and even joined in a flash mob dance. (Office of the President press release)