Georgetown, Guyana – (March 8, 2019) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, this afternoon, asserted that education, technology and Government support are important pillars for women’s advancement in Guyana.

“We recognise that progress has been made in many areas such as social protection and public services, where assistance is given to improvised women for the education, health and well-being of themselves and their children… these, together with social assistance and empowerment programmes for adolescent mothers, adolescent friendly health centres operated by the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Education’s policy for reintegration of teen mothers into the formal education system, provide a support structure to help us move closer to the goal of gender parity,” Mrs. Granger said.

The First Lady was at the time delivering remarks at the Ministry of Social Protection’s International Women’s Day observance held at the National Cultural Centre.

She said equal avenues of training must be made available for both men and women, especially in non-traditional sectors. “It is this regard that our education sector ought to be in the forefront of the kind of reform that recognises the skills required for employment in the twenty-first century … It is imperative that our girl children be encouraged from the earliest age, to become actively involved in STEM and Robotics and be on the cutting edge of information and communication technology,” the First Lady said.

Similarly, Minister of Social Protection, Ms. Amna Ally said, “Government has encouraged and continues to invest in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education as an important and critical pillar of development, especially in the light of Guyana’s green state development strategy”.

Minister Ally opined that there is need for a collective approach to advance gender parity in Guyana. “Today I call upon all, to let us synergize our efforts and work together, because despite elaboration and extensive work undertaken by both government and civil society organisations in terms of legislation, institutional frameworks, lobbying by feminists and massive investments to raise awareness on women’s human rights, there are still huge deficits in the actual enjoyment of women’s social, economic and political rights,” she said.

The Ministry of Social Protection, she said, continues to play a vital role in facilitating the economic empowerment of women through the Sustainable Livelihood Entrepreneurship Development Programme (SLED) and The Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute.

United Nations (UN) Resident Representative, Ms. Mikiko Tanaka said internationally recent studies show that while the gender balance is fairly equal at the lower levels of employment, as women climb the ladder disparity exists.

“Women’s representation declines higher up the ladder, their chances of rising to leadership positions are only 28%, the gender pay gap stands at 23 per cent globally,” Ms. Tanaka said. She added however, that while women representation in parliament averages 23.7 per cent globally, it’s 32 per cent in Guyana.

Meanwhile, eleven women from the Disciplined Services and social sector ministries were presented with awards which were distributed in the “Young Woman of Influence” and “Trail Blazing Woman of Influence” categories.

The recipients of the “Young Woman of Influence Award” are Ms. Jewel Sullivan, Deputy Superintendent (Guyana Police Force); Ms. Towana Wilson, Senior Statistician and IT Consultant (Guyana Prison Service); Ms. Melissa David, Section Leader (Guyana Fire Service); Ms. Michelle Smith, Secretary (Ministry of Public Health) and Ms. Tanisha Williams-Corbin, Coordinator, Counter Trafficking in Persons Unit (Ministry of Social Protection).

While the recipients of the “Trail Blazing Woman of Influence Award” are Ms. Maxine Graham, DSM, Deputy Commissioner; Ms. Olivia Cox, Superintendent of Prisons, Ms. Jacqueline Green, Deputy Chief Fire Officer; Ms. Ruschelle Williams, Senior Personnel Officer (Ministry of Public Health); Ms. Samantha Williams, Assistant Chief Education Officer (Nursery) and Ms. Karen Vansluytman- Corbin, Assistant Chief Labour Officer (Ag) (Ministry of Social Protection).

The event was also attended by Government ministers, senior officials of government institutions and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

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