‘Take advantage of every opportunity available’ – Rodrigues advises Girls Assemble


Young women from communities across Guyana were Friday encouraged to take advantage of all opportunities presented to them.

“You must understand and appreciate where you live as women and take advantage of every single opportunity that is available and open to you,” Susan Rodrigues, Minister within the Minister of Housing and Water, offered as her advice for the young women who make up the National Assembly of Girls, otherwise called Girls Assemble.

The grouping on Friday launched its first debate session at the Parliament Buildings which yearns for the participation of Guyanese girls in politics. The programme was launched by the Imperial House last October to commemorate International Day of the Girl Child. This year, the debate closes off the week for International Women’s Day.

Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water (Photo: Ministry of Housing and Water/ March 10, 2023)

“In today’s society many believe that gender equality is women trying to gain control and power over men when we just want the same privileges and rights as men. Women are only asking to gain power to contribute to our lives in a fair and just society. This includes political participation and leadership,” Speaker of the Assembly, Marissa Ramroop said.

Marissa Ramroop, speaker of the National Girls Assembly (Photo: Ministry of Housing and Water/ March 10, 2023)

Minister Rodrigues officially opened the debate and said international participation of women in decision making is low.

“When we look outward globally, we see that there is still a huge lack of participation of women especially at international conferences and one of the most startling examples of this is as recent as last year where world leaders gathered in Egypt to discuss climate change,” the minister said.

She referred to an article published by the BBC which reported that women made up less than 34 per cent of the country negotiating teams at the conference. Of the 100 leaders who attended the conference, seven were women.

Minister Rodrigues said that women have fought tirelessly for equal access to opportunities. In Guyana, access to healthcare through telemedicine gives way for women to be tended to in ways that were not possible before. She further noted that women are aware of the opportunities provided for them to develop their livelihood and said that more women take up scholarships.

The minister then urged the young women to put their future and their goals first to secure themselves a life that pays homage to the women who fought for their rights.

“We must honour their memories and their struggle by ensuring that we take up every single opportunity that is afforded to us.

“I know sometimes women think in a short term way…men think about earning and how they can stand on their own two feet very early and that is something that we have to teach our girls very early. How do I ensure that my future is secure and that my future is sustainable what do I need to do to stand on my own two feet?” Minister Rodrigues said.

She told the young women to follow in the footsteps of the trailblazers who go beyond the expectations of women and have trained themselves to be self-sufficient.

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