Women of Guyana, your role is crucial to Guyana’s development

By Roysdale Forde S.C, M.P- In 1975 the United Nations (UN) began celebrating International Women’s Day, and in 1977 the General Assembly invited member-states to proclaim 8th March an official UN holiday for women’s rights and world peace. This recognition of the 49th anniversary of United Nations’ celebration of women focuses on the economic disempowerment of women under the theme ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’. This opportunity is taken to celebrate the women of Guyana, everywhere.

The poet, William Ross Wallace, said “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle Is the Hand That Rules the World.” I am mühlet we all heard those words before. Unfortunately, however, many who have repeated these words have not fully embraced its sentiments to recognise the truism that Wallace speaks of.

Women are the nurturers of society. They are the mothers, the caregivers. Women shape the world. Our population comprises more than 50 percent females.

Somewhere along the line, however, despite this major task entrusted upon women, many still today find themselves subordinated in society, when theirs is the potential far beyond that which we have established, and to some extent relegated them to.

Post-independence there has never been a struggle in this country where women were not, and still are not in the forefront and not in the majority. Whether in the cane field, office or political space.

Women have struggled and suffered equally alongside their male counterparts to build a better Guyana for all. Some would argue at greater cost, for the nurturing woman often has to make sacrifices in her household and with her family as she struggles for her own development, that of her family, and the communities at large. Women are the strongest force in many institutions.

It is not by accident Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham considered women the vanguard of society.

I pause to recognise all those who struggle daily to balance their traditional role with the role of nation-building and development. These challenges are even more pressing in an oil-rich economy that sees at least half its population living in poverty, on less than $1200 (US$5.50) a day.

Today, I say to you, women of Guyana, your role is crucial to Guyana’s development. Therefore, our leaders, our men, our institutions of governance must invest in women to accelerate their progress.

It is clear in my mind, as it must also be in yours, that you women, the vanguard of this nation must not only celebrate yourself. You must come together as a unitary force to refocus those leaders in society who impact your well-being and that of your family on what is essential for your needs and the needs of your families to be satisfied.

Come together and force society to refocus attention on the communities in which you live and raise your children. As the hands that rock the cradle, you must not only want what is good for your children, you must continue the struggle of those who came before you and made a better life for you.

Yours is a legacy to protect, shape and enhance. I salute you on this day and every day for your role and contributions to the population and development of society.

Thank you.