First Lady says greater inclusion, support for women in Guyana’s transformation crucial

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Though there have been strides towards achieving gender equality by mitigating some of the challenges that women face worldwide, First Lady Mrs. Arya Ali emphasised that much more work needs to be done.

Following a march organised on Sunday morning, as part of the International Women’s Day celebrations, the First Lady said that support and inclusion for women is even more crucial now that Guyana is undergoing such rapid transformation.

“With our country experiencing unprecedented growth and rapid transformation, it is incumbent upon us – particularly leaders and officials – to ensure that women and girls are not excluded from these exciting opportunities that are life changing,” Mrs. Ali underscored.

First Lady Mrs. Arya Ali alongside Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water Susan Rodrigues and members of the diplomatic corps joined hundreds of people for an International Women’s Day march on Sunday morning (Photo: News Room/ March 6, 2022)

Hundreds joined Mrs. Ali, Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water Susan Rodrigues and members of the diplomatic corps in the Women’s Day march from the Bank of Guyana on Main Street to the Kingston Seawall Bandstand.

This march, the First Lady explained, is part of efforts geared at bringing greater awareness to the challenges faced by women and girls in Guyana, and everywhere.

“Women face greater hurdles than men in almost all spheres of economic activities including access to finance, assets, technology, good quality jobs and peer-to-peer networks,” she lamented.

She also reminded the gathering that women still engaged in unpaid work in the household, and still face stereotypes and biases. These are all challenges that she hopes can be eliminated.

Some of the girls who participated in the International Women’s Day march on Sunday morning (Photo: News Room/ March 6, 2022)

Adding to the First Lady’s remarks was United States (US) Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch.

The Ambassador also lamented the barriers and related stereotypes women in Guyana’s energy sector face. According to her, some women have been presumed to be note-takers or secretaries instead of the engineers or industry experts that they are.

And she emphasised that these stereotypes need to be reversed since they can be in all sectors of work.

British High Commissioner Jane Miller and Chinese Ambassador Guo Haiyan also echoed sentiments that there needs to be a greater level of support and inclusion for women.

Some of the people who participated in the International Women’s Day march on Sunday morning (Photo: News Room/ March 6, 2022)

Meanwhile, United Nations (UN) Representative to Guyana Nicolas Pron was keen on pointing out that women are worse affected by the climate crisis since they are more dependent on the natural resources that climate change affects.

As such, he too called for a greater level of support and empowerment to be provided to women to enable them to adapt to the challenges posed by climate change.

This year’s International Women’s Day celebrations will be officially observed on Tuesday.

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