Georgetown, Guyana – (December 15, 2019) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger said girls in technology and likeminded socially conscious women leaders can mentor the next generation of women to ensure that they are equipped to take their place as equal partners in the development of our country.

The First Lady made these statements in her address at the Girls in Tech (GIT) Mentorship Program’s premier Christmas fundraising dinner which was hosted, last evening, at the Herdmanston Lodge, Queenstown.

“Our girls and women require education which is relevant and which will put them in a position of strength when they are placed (or they place themselves) in roles of leadership. In thinking of mentoring the next generation of female leaders, we must consider how they are socialized, how they are nurtured, how they are educated and what may be their own aspirations,” Mrs. Granger said in her keynote address at the event.

The First Lady said girls and women require education which will propel them into positions of strength when they accede to leadership positions, especially given the diverse challenges that women in Guyana face. The first step in equipping women for success, Mrs. Granger said, is by re-evaluating how they children are socialised to prepare for the future.

“Our girls and women require the education and nurturing that will instil in them confidence in their worth. This confidence will lead them to broaden their horizons and aspire to top levels of management and decision-making in any group…I believe that we must begin with how we socialize our children and prepare them for the world of work. This implies that our boys and men folk accept that girls and women are equal partners in the workforce and therefore entitled to equal pay for work,” she said.

Mrs. Granger said women too must take note of that fact that in a technology driven world 90 per cent of the jobs done by women are predicated to be obsolete by 2050. She advised them to cultivate an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related fields.

The First Lady also noted that in Guyana women comprise approximately half of the population and their voices in decision-making forums must be heard and treated equally.

“The fact that our women and girls seem to be stuck in traditional areas of employment when the technology-drive world which we inhabit is constantly evolving must be a matter of concern to anyone interested in the growth of our country… it is imperative that we encourage our girl children and women to embrace STEM. Given the predication… the situation becomes more urgent,” she said.

The First Lady also said that it is estimated that women spend 90 per cent of their earnings on their families, compared to men, who spend about 30 to 40 per cent on their families. These statistics indicate that a greater number of women in leadership position could result in better educated children and more comfortable families.

Meanwhile, United Sates Ambassador to Guyana, Mrs. Sarah-Ann Lynch, in her address, applauded GIT for focusing on mentoring young women in the aspects of personal and professional development, noting that mentorship is important as it underlies professional successes. She also encouraged women and girls to get more involved in STEM fields.

“More women and girls should be involved in tech fields. Nations and companies that do not accept this truth fail to take advantage of one-half of the creative energy and ingenuity available in a society. STEM fields belong to a handful of professions that are already becoming the core of a new economy. But nothing will change for our girls without working to reprogram the structure of support networks that very often keeps young women out of certain fields. The Girls in Tech Mentorship Program does that. I believe this mentorship program will make a difference,” she said.

GIT Managing Director, Ms. Evie Kanhai-Gurchuran shared on overview of the program and encouraged persons who are interested in technology to join the team and help to make a difference within society.

GIT is a global non-profit organization focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of girls and women who are passionate about technology. The organisation was founded by Ms. Adriana Gascoigne in 2007 to create a support framework to help women advance their careers in the STEM fields.

The event was themed, “Mentoring the next generation of Female Leaders”. Head of the Computer Science Department at the University of Guyana, Ms. Penelope DeFreitas also attended the event.

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