President David Granger yesterday called for a concerted effort against the scourge of violence against women.
He was speaking at the opening of the 20th biennial convention of the National Congress of Women, the women’s arm of the PNCR at Congress Place, according to a release from the Ministry of the Presidency.
“Unless we take concerted action to eliminate violence against women, we will never remove the scourge of inequality. People will not find it even necessary to consider providing equal access for girl children to go to school. We need to deal with this problem of violence against girls and women. It is not easy. It is not just sexual violence. It is physical violence as well. It is chopping and killing, murder…It is the daily subjugation and suppression of women…Comrades the question of violence against women, I don’t want to call it an epidemic, but no humane society, no women’s organisation should fail to take action to suppress or eliminate violence against women and children, particularly children who are women… there are some horrendous rapes…,” the Head of State said.
He said that he is particularly pleased to see more convictions of these crimes, noting that it could be related to the fact that the Chief Justice and Chancellor are women and therefore understand the challenges that women endure.
“By the grace of God…it seems that the transformation of the Magistracy and the Judiciary where you have a Chancellor who is a woman, a Chief Justice who is a woman, and a large amount of Magistrates who are women. Somehow, it is leading to a large number of convictions. I think after a while, men are going to get the message. You don’t be violent against women and then go to a woman Magistrate and expect a simple thing,” he said, according to the release.
“We must be able to stop it in the home and prevent young men and uncles and boyfriends from exploiting the girl children in the home. This is too widespread and just as we have been able to bring about the elimination of smoking in public places, we have been able to take collective action on other social issues; this is an issue that we must take action on. We must set up hotlines and we must be able to detect and isolate persons who are violent to their partners and spouses…When you treat women humanely, they will realise that they, not only expect humane treatment, they will treat their children humanely too. Gradually, I think, Guyana will become a gentler and kinder place,” Granger said. “The subordination of women, which still exists in so many societies has been responsible for depriving countries of the contribution that women can make to national development, to their families and to making societies more humane. We are moving to remove any element of discrimination, not only gender discrimination but also access to schools, healthcare, transportation. So we have to start by understanding the importance of equality and removing every trace of inequality in our country so that our women are not inhibited or restrained from doing their best. If they do not get the opportunity, it will affect their children and their families. So I charge the National Congress of Women to continue the work of their leaders like Winifred Gaskin, Shirley Field-Ridley, Jane Phillips-Gaye and other decades ago, to continue removing inequalities…,” he said.
President Granger also urged the women’s group to explore the possibilities of agro-processing, manufacturing and other employment opportunities.