Int’l Women’s Day Message from WPO

As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, under the UN theme: ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate progress”, we must use this opportunity to thank the People’s Progressive Party, the Women’s Progressive Organisation and Janet Jagan for bringing this very important assessment tool to Guyana in 1957. As we have done in the past, IWD 2024 is used to assess the progress made for women’s equality and well-being in all aspects of Guyanese society. We must continue to work to ensure that women’s participation in the decision-making processes at all levels, influence the creation of economic prosperity for all.

Women, over the last 78 years, since the formation of the ‘Women’s Political and Economic Organisation in 1946, have bridged many gaps. In 1953, universal adult suffrage gave women the right to vote without owning money or property and this resulted in three (3) women entering the legislative council. In 2024, more than 35% of Parliamentarians in the National Assembly are women. And the 2001, the revised constitution stipulated that all political parties contesting national elections must have at least one third of its candidates as women.

78 years ago, women had no rights, no voice, and they were mostly illiterate. Today, women hold positions at all levels of the decision-making processes in Guyana. They can be found in the traditional and non-traditional field of work. They own money, property, fly plane and drive cars. They are doctors, lawyers, engineers and teachers, etc. They are multi-taskers and equally educated.

Yet, the struggle for equality and the advocacy for the reduction and elimination of domestic and gender-based violence in our society continues. And while women are educated, empowered and own property, there are many who lag behind in many aspects. The continuous revision and upgrading of our legislations protect women’s rights, while government measures in health, housing, education, social services, etc. improve their conditions of living. While we have come a far way, we have to continue to champion the rights for women’s equality and freedom, especially from the cultural shackles in society.

The foundation was carved by those before us, so women of today have to build on it for those of tomorrow.

Once again, Happy International Women’s Day.