The Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) has joined international efforts to empower women and promote gender equality in the workplace through an agreement under the United Nations (UN).
At a brief ceremony held at the bank’s corporate office at Kingston, Georgetown, on Wednesday, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer James Foster signed on to the United Nations (UN) Women Empowerment principles which promotes the eradication of gender inequalities at workplaces.
This makes it the first commercial bank in Guyana to agree to the principles outlined by the UN for improving the treatment of women and men at work. It is also part of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s 16 Days of Activism for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls.
Ambassador Rene Van Nes from the EU Delegation to Guyana and a representative from the Ministry were also in attendance at the ceremony.
Giving brief remarks at the ceremony, the CEO said GBTI is committed to inclusivity and improving the growth of all team members. He said it is important that staff are empowered by their employer. He said GBTI had recent engagements with representatives from the UN when it decided to pledge its endorsement for the UN women empowerment principles.
“GBTI is pleased to endorse UN women empowerment principles and support the 16 Days of Activism for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls…it is important to bring increased awareness to this important initiative and to bring our global and local partners to share our position,” Foster said.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Yesim Oruckaya, said it was an important step by the bank to promote women empowerment in businesses. She said having GBTI as a supporter, other banks and private sector businesses will see the importance of the UN Women Empowerment Principles within workplaces.
“The UN women empowerment principles were established by UN women and the UN Global Compact, which is the private sector standards that the United Nations tried to establish and to promote. They are informed by international unman rights standards, labour rights standards and recognition that businesses have a responsibility for gender equality and women’s empowerment,” Oruckaya explained.
Additionally, she said, “by becoming a member you are joining a great camaraderie of private sector entities who have joined the virtual race towards better empowerment given the realities of gender-based violence in Guyana, we need every hand on deck and private sector is no exception.”
By joining the UN in its efforts to eradicate violence against women and promote gender equality, GBTI must uphold standards that are outlined by the UN and must model behaviours within the company which encourage commercial conditions that provide opportunities to women and men and girls.