Women Lawyers condemn obstinate workplace discrimination, sexual harassment in IWD message

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See the full statement from the Guyana Association of Women Lawyers (GAWL) on the occasion of International Women’s Day below:

 

International Women’s’ Day 2021 theme is “Unite and Take Action against Gender Inequality, Stereotypes and Gender Based Violence”, hashtag: #ChooseToChallenge. The Guyana Association of Women Lawyers (GAWL) encourages women in Guyana to Choose to Challenge any adversity they face and become the change they want to be.

The global COVID 19 pandemic has necessitated us to change our modus operandi, face the challenges of the restrictive environment and reassess how to create innovative avenues to stay safe while going about our daily routines.

In 2020 we had to adapt to Zoom court hearings, meetings, classroom lessons and technological innovations to stay the course. Mothers had to ensure children operate in a new environment via distance learning. We had to sanitize, wear masks and ensure our work environment was safe. We chose to be the change and many women have overcome substantial hurdles.

There is still exist discrimination in the workplace as evidenced by the discriminatory rules degrading remarks about the nurses at the Linden Hospital and sexual harassment of women.

Domestic violence increased as our menfolk became stressed from lockdowns and work pressure. Women’s mental health suffered. Some of innovative women engaged in alternate income earning ventures and many succeeded. We partnered and leaned on each other to keep our sanity and our homes stress-free and we did it.

On the world stage women led by example. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern coped with a newborn, ran a successful reelection and kept her country COVID-free. The United State saw the ascension of Kamala Harris as the first woman to occupy the Office of the Vice President.

Regionally, Barbados’ Hon. Mia Motley came up with ingenious ways of keeping the Barbadian economy afloat. On the home front Guyanese women also made great strides. Over the years, the GAWL was pivotal in having the law recognize women’s rights with respect to marriage, maintenance, division of property and reproductive rights.

However, there isstill discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment and other gender related obstacles including gender equality which would aid in the development of women and girls. A courage woman creates a forward movement.

The GAWL encourages women to speak up and represent themselves. We encourage women not stay silent, not be stifled but rather, choose to challenge every day. Women’s rights are human rights. We can look to the American civil rights movement where again all adversity: “Rosa sat so Ruby could walk so Kamala could run.”

Best wishes for a proactive, safe and productive International Women’s Day!

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