Lack of gender diversity on State Boards raised by Women Commission
…as Commission hands over reports to Parliament
The Eighth and Ninth Annual Reports of the Women and Gender Equality Commission were handed over on Wednesday, with one Commissioner lamenting recent evidence of the lack of diversity on various Boards and management teams and the long road ahead to achieving gender equality.
The handing over of the reports, which are expected to be laid in the National Assembly when it reconvenes, took place at Parliament Building. On hand to receive the reports was Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir. In his address to the attendees, Nadir spoke of the importance of the work of the Commission.
“The diversity of our people in spite of our small numbers continues to be a complex challenge. It is admirable that you’ve reached out to the unorganised. The stats show that organised people, whether it be youth, women, general civil society, tend to be in the 10 per cent. The overwhelming majority of people are unorganised, and we tend to have the minority expressing a view for the majority,” the Speaker said.
He also spoke of the Women and Gender Equality commission’s responsibility to lay a solid foundation for the next generation, as well as the next commission that will succeed the current one.
Meanwhile, Nicole Cole, a women’s rights activist and member of the Commission, lamented the composition of various State Boards and management teams. One case she referenced was the all-male corporate team at the Guyana Water Inc (GWI).
“Yes, women would have progressed. You will find that in the report. But there are still many gaps as it relates to women really being at the table or having 50/50 and what it highlights is that there is still much work to be done if we are to really forge a world where women’s rights are respected as human rights,” Cole stated.
“Here is where we want to look at, right here in Guyana. Most recently, you would have seen we put out a letter calling on GWI – as a matter of fact, the two Ministers (of Housing) Collin Croal and Susan Rodrigues, to reverse what happened. A 19-member (corporate executive) of all males? How does that happen?”
GWI’s management team, as revealed in a recent social media post by the entity, is headed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shaik Baksh. Other members are Nigel Niles, Executive Director, Corporate Services; Elvis Jordan, Executive Director, Human Resources and Development; Mark David, Executive Director, Finance; Aubrey Roberts, Executive Director, Project Implementation; Jawaharlall Ramjug, Executive Director, Operations; Jaigopaul Ram, Executive Director, Business Development; Oslton Thorman, Executive Director, Information and Communication Technology; Christopher Vandeyar, Executive Director, Procurement; Marlon Daniels, Executive Director of Commercial Services and Customer Relations and Ramchand Jailal, Executive Director, Hinterland Services.
In the letter Cole referenced, which was penned by the Women and Gender Equality Commission’s Chairperson Indranie Chandarpal, she had implored the two Ministers to intervene in the issue of GWI’s management composition since it contravened Guyana’s principles and the constitutional provisions of gender equality.
“The GWI needs to advance into the second decade of the 21st century, and behave as if it is in step with Guyana’s constitutional and legal frameworks, and its global commitments that uphold gender equality,” Chandarpal had written.
“It is a well-known statistic the world over that it is women who are mainly impacted by the provisioning of water; and where there is no consistent water supply within homes, they are the main burden-bearers of fetching of water, etc. The latter situation applies to Guyana in many marginalised communities in urban, peri-urban, rural, and hinterland communities.” (G3)