Let’s Celebrate the Achievements of Guyanese Women
Today, the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA) salutes all women in Guyana and joins the rest of the world to celebrate the achievements of women, recognizing their work for women’s empowerment and gender equality. It is also a time to reflect critically on the barriers that continue to impede women’s progress and society as a whole. This includes sexual and reproductive health and rights, which are elemental to the health and wellbeing of women and men, and essential to a fit and productive society.
Women and girls need to be empowered to exercise control over their sexual and reproductive lives if Guyana is to advance in attaining its goals of sustainable, equitable development.
Guyana has come a long way in its struggle for gender equality, particularly in relation to legislation, access to education and parliamentary representation, among others. However, the impact of these achievements on the lives of women, the community and the nation as a whole is still lacking. The current situation of gender based violence, teenage pregnancy, poverty, HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality and morbidity, and a whole range of societal issues are affected by gender inequality.
Patriarchal power is still pervasive in every unit of our society – from Parliament to the home; from temples, churches and mosques to the street corners, perpetuating sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and other related forms of intolerance. Women also imbibe and use patriarchal power, exerting control, based on their status, class, race, political affiliation and religion.
It is important that we seek to transform our very mindset as women who are coopted by patriarchy and estranged from the realities of the burdens borne by our sisters, especially those in vulnerable situations. Only then can we inspire the much needed change in Guyana.