Behavioural change, determination needed for gender parity – First Lady

First Lady Sandra Granger on Tuesday attended a roundtable discussion for International Women’s Day, which will be observed today under the theme, ‘Women in the Changing World of Work; Planet 50-50 by 2030’, at the Carifesta Sports Complex, Carifesta Avenue, Georgetown. The event which was hosted by the Women’s and Gender Equality Commission (WGEC) was discussed under the theme ‘Is Gender Parity Possible by 2030?’

First Lady Sandra Granger in discussion with Chairperson of WGEC and parliamentarian, Indranie Chandarpal
First Lady Sandra Granger in discussion with Chairperson of WGEC and parliamentarian, Indranie Chandarpal

Speaking during the discussions, the First Lady said, “I believe that with behavioural change, determination and serious concerted action we can become a healthier, more educated, more confident and productive society. We can then achieve gender parity in not too distant future.” The First Lady in her address to the women said she added that women need to recognise and address the social and economic factors limiting easy access to education for the development of women and girls in Guyana.

Mrs Granger said that in order for gender parity to become a reality several steps are required. “Our entire population must be educated to understand the long-term implications of gender disparity. We must be bold for change. We must speak up and speak out against injustice. A comprehensive country-wide campaign should be launched to socialise our women and men, girls and boys so that they recognise and desist from behaviours, which harm us individually, collectively, socially and economically,” the First Lady said. Deputy Vice Chancellor Planning of International Engagement at the University of Guyana, Dr Barbara Reynolds, in her address said that parity begins at home and applies in the daily lives of women. She added that calling for greater unity among women is also part of ending disparity, noting that women’s voices and votes play an integral part in ensuring gender parity.

“We need to care for one another… We can disagree but still respect one another. We can work together, and when we work together it does not mean working against the men, but we can work together because the sisterhood is needed. We need to assess ourselves as a community…,” Dr Reynolds said.

Also speaking at the event was Member of Parliament and Chairperson of WGEC, Indranie Chanderpaul, said that “All of us, whether we hold positions in the various Ministries, the highest office of the land in political parties, wherever we are, it is our responsibility to begin that discourse and to encourage, wherever possible, the dialogue so that we can work towards 50-50 in 30 years’ time,” Chanderpaul said.

The discussions were accompanied by cultural presentations including spoken word poetry from the Jazz and Poetry on a stool artists. Also present at the event were, Minister within the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Annette Ferguson and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Mikiko Tanaka.