A National Gender and Social Inclusion Policy has been developed by government, Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally announced earlier this month, relating that it is to be implemented during the second quarter of this year.
Ally, while at the Regional Gender Equality Strategy and Beijing +25 Summit at the Herd-manston Lodge, noted that the government, from 2015 to now, has made several “key and progressive interventions” with the aim of strengthening the programmes and policies that support women and girls locally.
In this vein, she mentioned the development of a gender and social inclusion policy, which will aim to “mainstream gender issues into all sectors in order to eliminate all negative economic, social and cultural practices that impede equality and equity”. The minister noted that the policy will help to strengthen links between the government, non-governmental organisations and the private sector, as they work to “mainstream gender” in their respective areas, by maintaining and providing gender sensitive information and gender disaggregated data for use in planning and project implementation at all levels. Ally noted that the ministry has also developed a policy for the reintegration of teenage mothers, which includes support measures that enable teenage mothers to continue their secondary schooling.
She stated that the government will also continue to work with its partners to address sexual and reproductive health and rights.
With the view of supporting the economic empowerment of women, Ally noted that the ministry, through its Sustainable Livelihood Entrepreneurship Development Programme, enable women and single parents to access grants to start small businesses.
Furthermore, through the Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute, the ministry, in 2018, hosted workshops on gender and local government titled “Female Decision Makers”. The workshops, Ally reported, intended to promote a platform that would equip women with the skills and knowledge necessary to improve their “individual and institutional competence within their communities and at the different sectoral areas. Ally related that 46 women have so far benefited from that project, which was executed in all 10 regions.
“Although we have recorded impressive gains in the purview of women’s’ advancement, there are still complex challenges that women continue to grapple with in our country. These include unequal representation in the work place, gender based violence, cultural practices which compromise the education of girls and the health of young women and girls,” the minister acknowledged.