PRESS RELEASE - Monday 7 March 2011

A Message from the National Congress of Women
And the People’s National Congress Reform
On International Women’s Day 2011

The National Congress of Women (NCW) and the People’s National Congress Reform, salute all women in Guyana and throughout the world as we observe International Women’s Day 2011, today Tuesday 8th March 2011, the 100th year since the observance of this day. Our Party also endorses the United Nations theme for International Women’s Day 2011 – “Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women”

As we think of International Women’s Day 2011, we must remember Clara Zetkin and those women in Germany who initiated the observance of this day, 100 years ago. In 1911, they participated in rallies demanding the right to vote and to hold public office, as well as women’s rights to work, to vocational training and to end the discrimination on the job.

The women’s arm of our Party began its observances of International Women’s Day from 1977, the same year when the General Assembly adopted a resolution which recognized the role of women in peace efforts and development and urged an end to discrimination and an increase of support for women’s full and equal participation. As we celebrate the 100th anniversary we also salute our own Guyanese women, those stalwarts of the PNC Women’s Auxiliary and the WRSM, the forerunners to our organisation, those women worked hard for the advancement of the women of our organisation and Guyana as a whole. On this occasion of the observance of International Women’s Day we also salute all members of the NCW, and urge that we continue to work tirelessly for the upliftment of our womenfolk.

While we observe this day, let us be reminded of the work done by the People’s National Congress Government in recognising the value and importance of women’s contribution in the developmental process in Guyana as well as their role in the process. Let us recall some of the steps which were taken, beginning with the State Paper on Equality for Women in 1976; Enshrinement of the principle of equality for women under Article 29 of the 1980 Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana; The establishment of the Women’s Affairs Bureau and the signing and ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women in 1980; Representation on the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women in 1982; The Removal of Discrimination Against Children Born out of Wedlock Act No. 12 of 1983; The Equal Rights Act No. 19 of 1990 and the Married Persons (Property) Amendment Act No. 20 of 1990, giving women a better opportunity to benefit during the division of property.

The People’s National Congress Reform supported the Domestic Violence Act which was passed in Parliament a few years ago. We note the pervasive nature of Domestic Violence in Guyana and condemn same. We, vehemently, condemn the continued rise in domestic violence, rape, carnal knowledge, crime, discrimination, corruption to name a few of the serious problems facing this dear land of ours. But we question the utility of these laws in the face of their non enforcement.

As we celebrate the centenary of these observances under the theme “Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women”, let us continue to encourage our young women to make good use of the educational opportunities available to them, so that they could become better qualified and so command their space in the world of work. Studies have indicated that girls stay much longer in school than boys and that there are more females graduating from the universities, and as such we ask that there be no discrimination as they move along the pathway to decent work for women.

The National Congress of Women wishes to remind the women of Guyana that this is an election year and that we women, as “Agents of Change”, have a duty to ensure that we become fully involved so that we can make the change for a better life.

Happy International Women’s Day 2011!

National Congress of Women
People’s National Congress Reform
Monday 7th March 2011