Significant Young Professional homes to be taken up by women – Ali

…review needed to reduce challenges women face to access loans

Recognising that more needs to be done to not only promote women’s interests but provide opportunities for them, President Dr Irfaan Ali has disclosed that a massive number of the Young Professional homes under Government’s housing drive will go towards female applicants.

President Irfaan Ali and Human Services Minister Dr Vindhya Persaud checking out one of the many female businesses on display at the WE LIFT – Women’s Empowerment Expo

According to President Ali, “I was very pleased recently when I learned that a significant percentage of the Young Professional homes will be taken up by females. And that tells a story that the message and the culture and the stereotype is changing to the extent that young women today see themselves as providing their own opportunities, owning their own homes. This is very important for empowerment, very important for the building of confidence.”
The Head of State made this revelation during his feature address at the launch of the WE LIFT – Women’s Empowerment Expo at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Saturday. The two-day event was held ahead of Monday’s International Women’s Day.
Ali posited that women have the potential to achieve anything and face any challenge, something which can be seen in all facets of society. As such, he noted that there should be daily reflections on the hard work that women around the world are tasked with doing, which they perform with admiration.
“I don’t have the capability to understand the level of challenges that a woman would go through in her life cycle… but women have in them the potential to do anything,” he posited.
The Head of State added that in his view, not only are women designed stronger than men but beyond the strength, they exhibit an “inner soul” which is transformational and essential in any society and in any country.
At the local level, the President explained that there are many women in key positions. He made mention of his female Ministers, some of whom were at the venue and stated that Guyanese women are innovative, motivated and their resourcefulness is unmatched.
Further, Ali recognised that despite their drive, women are faced with many challenges that impede their efforts.
He referred to the challenges women have, especially single-parent mothers, in accessing loans and pointed out that not just the Government, but the Private Sector also needs to have renewed systems in place.
“[We have to look at] how challenging it is for women to access loans and how do we address that. If we are to motivate investment in a particular area, we have to build specific investment regime to motivate that investment whether it is tax incentives. Similarly, in order to break the cycle and make it easier [for women], we have to sit with the banking sector and we have to work on a plan in which we can develop an incentive regime that would make it easier and less complicated for women to get loans so that they can start their own businesses,” the Head of State asserted.
Moreover, he went on to highlight that women play an integral role in the family and are essential in the transformation of Guyana. He said that changing the country starts with changing homes and in every facet of that change, women will be involved.
President Ali added that with the empowerment of women in the family, a cycle of development would be created.

“We cannot change this country community by community unless we develop a family. Unless we sit as families. We change the way families think. And when you combine that change you get community change, then you get national change. The value of more empowered families is important in advancement of women. Also, stronger families are critical in supporting women,” he contended.
The Head of State further added that his intention is to promote more jobs which will benefit women, including call centres, which can earn additional income for housewives.
According to President Ali, he is happy to see a global trend of women getting more opportunities and accomplishing more than generations before. This, he said, is very important for empowerment and the building of confidence amongst women.
Despite this, however, the President still believes that more needs to be done.
“The new generation of women, many of whom we saw earlier, are starting at a far superior level than those before them. They are starting on a far better platform, but they cannot relax. That is why I think from a Government perspective, from a societal perspective, we have to look at a national approach in which we mainstream issues and challenges of women into the policy framework of the country itself,” Ali posited.
The Head of State closed by stating that he was heartened with the drive of Guyanese females and their innovation on display.
“I congratulate you because of the great role you have played in the lives of every Guyanese. I congratulate you because of your commitment, your dedication, your patience, your love, your tolerance and your belief that you can be a positive influence and change in our country. Together, we can. Together, we will. I ask every single woman in this room, and across Guyana, to join with me in building One Guyana in which all of us can be proud to be part of,” President Ali stated.