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Under the theme “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality” the world over is today (March 8, 2016) celebrating IWD. Kaieteur News today salutes our women from every stratum of society.Below are some messages from individuals and organisations in observance of IWD.Prime Minister Moses V. NagamootooWomen are the undisputed bedrock and nurturers of our society. The resilience and fortitude of women are the foundation for the forward thrust of our country. It is women who are the quiet engineers of change and social advancement.The United Nations, today, calls on all to reflect on how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda of building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals.This will equally focus on new commitments under United Nations Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s rights.They, more than any other, mould and shape our youth and care for our elderly. Without women society would undoubtedly collapse.This Coalition Government is proud of the immense strides our women have made in the 50 years since our independence and that they continue to be exemplary citizens, professionals and parents.The APNU+AFC Government commits to ensuring that women are truly and sincerely protected, respected, included and provided with equal opportunity throughout the social landscape, starting with the manner in which the business of the national affairs are managed. It is a source of pride that 10 ministers of this Coalition Government are women, more than is the case for any other member of CARICOM and even as we work towards ensuring that this number is increased in years to come to achieve the UN goal of 50-50, hopefully well in advance of 2030.**Social Protection Minister, Ms. Volda LawrenceToday is a global day in acknowledgement and celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Today, 8th March, 2016 is a special day because it marks a call to action for all Governments to accelerate gender parity and expand opportunities for the Empowerment of Women.The United Nations declared 1975 as International Women’s Year; it was a year in which women were acclaimed worldwide in recognition of their sterling contributions and accomplishments over the years.IWD is the story of ordinary women as history makers. It is rooted in the centuries-old struggle by women, whether in the cane-fields and/or cotton fields of slavery; or under the less brutal conditions of indentureship in the Caribbean. IWD therefore is a time to reflect on the progress we have made. It is a time to call for greater changes and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played extraordinary roles in the history of women’s rights. In Guyana, stalwarts such as Jane Phillips-Gay, Winifred Gaskin, Hycintha Godette,Cheap Jerseys From China, Agnes Ben-Kirton-Holder, Janet Jagan, Viola Burnham, Shirley Field-Ridley,  must be acknowledged for their invaluable contribution to the positioning of women on the socio-political platform. (Yvonne Harewood Benn, Magda Pollard, Urmia Johnson, Cheryl Sampson, Sybil Patterson, Yvonne Stevenson).It is a time to ponder on what it means to be a woman and to recognise that a woman is not an auxiliary or a subordinate assistant to her male counterpart.  It is also a time to contemplate how effective and important a role a woman plays, whether at the micro-level of the home or the macro-level of the wider society.**U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Bryan HuntAs we near local government elections on March 18th and Guyana’s 50th anniversary of independence on May 26th,Cheap Jerseys From China, this year’s IWD takes on added significance.   The contributions of women to Guyana’s rich history are too many to list. The influence of leaders like former President Janet Jagan, former Public Service Minister Dr. Faith Harding, and former Member of the National Assembly Sheila Holder is enduring and today Guyana is fortunate to have women lead in the Cabinet, in the private sector, and in civic society.In the United States it wasn’t until 1920 that women were afforded the right to vote, and it was much longer for many African-Americans who suffered under Jim Crow laws, segregation, and racial injustice.  Through the determined efforts of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, and so many others who saw participating in the democratic process as a right, not a privilege,Cheap NBA Jerseys China, women now comprise a powerful voting bloc.  Today women hold twenty seats in the United States Senate, more than eighty seats in the House of Representatives, and there are three female Supreme Court Justices.  Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is competing for the Democratic nomination in hopes to become the first woman president in United States history.The United States of America is committed to working in partnership with the Government of Guyana and local organizations to strengthen social equity and access to essential social services for all people of Guyana, specifically to increase participation of and support for women, LGBT, indigenous, and vulnerable populations.  We value the work we have undertaken thus far in partnership with government and civil society leaders, and we look forward to building on this partnership as we work within the Guyana government and in civil society to achieve this shared goal.It is heartening to see that many Guyanese women are seeking office in the upcoming local government elections on March 18.  I encourage all Guyanese to participate in this critical election process.  Elections and progress go hand in hand as we all work together to make Guyana more safe, secure, and inclusive. Get out and vote!**UN Secretary General Ban Ki -MoonIn poor parts of the world today, women still risk death in the process of giving life. Maternal mortality is one of many preventable perils. All too often, female babies are subjected to genital mutilation. Girls are attacked on their way to school. Women’s bodies are used as battlefields in wars. Widows are shunned and impoverished.We can only address these problems by empowering women as agents of change.Confucius taught that to put the world in order, we must begin in our own circles. Armed with proof of the value of women leaders at the United Nations, I have spoken out for women’s empowerment everywhere. In speeches at parliaments, universities and street rallies, in private talks with world leaders, in meetings with corporate executives and in tough conversations with powerful men ruling rigidly patriarchal societies, I have insisted on women’s equality and urged measures to achieve it.When I took office, there were nine parliaments in the world with no women. We helped to drive that number down to four. I launched the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign in 2008; today, scores of leaders and ministers, hundreds parliamentarians and millions of individuals have added their names to the action call.I was the first man to sign our HeForShe campaign, and more than a million others have joined since. I stood with activists calling for the abandonment of female genital mutilation and celebrated when the General Assembly adopted its first-ever resolution supporting that goal. I am echoing the calls of many who know women can drive success in achieving our bold 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and advancing the Paris Agreement on climate change.On this IWD, I remain outraged by the denial of rights to women and girls – but I take heart from the people everywhere who act on the secure knowledge that women’s empowerment leads to society’s advancement. Let us devote solid funding, courageous advocacy and unbending political will to achieving gender equality around the world. There is no greater investment in our common future.**UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-NgcukaThis year’s celebration of IWD is the first within the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are confidently asserted in that Agenda as intrinsic to progress.The new Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals include a specific goal to achieve gender equality, which aims to end discrimination and violence against women and girls and ensure equal participation and opportunities in all spheres of life. Important provisions for women’s empowerment are also included in most of the other goals.In conjunction with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, more than 90 governments have answered UN Women’s call for action to “Step It Up for Gender Equality”. Heads of State and Government have pledged concrete and measurable actions to crack some of the fundamental barriers to the achievement of gender equality in their countries.Unanimously at the 59th Commission on the Status of Women in 2015, governments reaffirmed the Beijing Platform for Action. Businesses large and small are committing to, and implementing, shifts in culture and practice that foster greater equality and opportunity. Women individually, and civil society together, have called for lasting and transformative change by 2030.With these unprecedented expressions of political will,Wholesale NFL Jerseys China, the countdown to substantive gender equality by 2030 must begin, accompanied and underpinned by monitoring of accountability and evaluation of progress.We draw strength from this solidarity as we face world events such as severe population displacement, extreme violence against women and girls, and extensive instability and crises in many regions.**UNFPA’s Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde OsotimehinFor millions of women and girls around the world, gender equality and the full enjoyment of human rights remain elusive.For instance, nearly 14 millionchildren are forced into marriage every year; that is 37,000 girls being denied their fundamental human rights every single day!Every day, 7.3 million babies in developing countries are born to mothers who are 17 or younger. One in three women is subject to gender-based violence, and 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone female genital mutilation.Today, on International Women’s Day, I call on all countries to take action to protect the rights of women and girls and to rectify long-standing gender inequality.Gender equality and equal protection of human rights, including the right to sexual and reproductive health, are important in and of themselves. But they are also a means to achieving internationally agreed-upon social and economic objectives, including the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the international community in September 2015. These goals emphasize the achievement of gender equality, good health and quality education for all and the elimination of poverty.Formore than four decades, UNFPA has helped improve women’s health and advance their rights. The Fund will continue pushing the health and rights agenda through 2030, when the Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved, and beyond, until all women and girls everywhere are on an equal footing with men and have the power and the means to exercise their basic human rights.**UNITED NATIONS RESIDENT COORDINATOR MS. KHADIJA MUSAThe United Nations (UN) began celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March, 1975. This followed years of celebration of women since the turn of the twentieth century by countries around the world. As we celebrate IWD 2016 we are reminded that an important principle of the UN Charter is that of equality between women and men. Since the signing of the Charter, the UN has helped to create an historic legacy of internationally-agreed norms, strategies, standards, programmes and goals to advance the status of women worldwide.With the recent launch of the 2030 Agenda to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this year’s theme focuses on implementation of SDG 5 – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls and SDG 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.In Guyana, the United Nations has worked to promote and enhance women’s empowerment through various initiatives:We have supported the establishment of a national Women and Gender Steering Committee within the public service. Capacity building efforts geared towards institutional development have contributed to the mainstreaming of gender into the public service training curriculum.We have supported research, which focused on identifying the drivers of gender based violence.Additionally, UN agencies have promoted leadership, economic empowerment, and ending violence against women and girls through capacity strengthening programmes across various sectors including health, religion, and youth. Additionally, the United Nations System promotes political or public leadership and participation of women in politics and governance.Through community level outreaches we have contributed to enhancing leadership by women and girls at the community and national levels. Our work has also supported legal reform through the provision of technical advisory services to the consultancy for the drafting of the National Action Plan for the implementation of the Sexual Offences Act of 2010.**Guyana Human Rights AssociationEducation of women, for example, reflects progress in women’s rights, but it has also exposed the degree of resistance to re-ordering of domestic gender roles which the education of girls implies.  In the Guyanese context, better-educated younger women earning good salaries are no longer unquestioningly available for traditional domestic house-keeping, kitchen-gardening, minding fowls and parenting roles. Nor are they helplessly subject to the whims of men and boys, dependent on them for money: they own cars and scooters and phone for taxis.However, this evolution of women’s rights is not as acceptable or secure as we like to think. Coercive male control, or patriarchy, has always been the crucial gender battleground. It remains pervasively manifest in everyday ordeals of checking cell ‘phones and interrogation over length of time spent out of the house or on Facebook and control of women’s earnings by partners.  Control is the commonest form of domestic abuse whether by fathers, husbands, child-fathers, partners and brothers.  It also remains, according to recent studies, a huge risk factor for domestic homicide.Moreover, control is not only a feature of settled relationships.  A girl who having told her boyfriend she is going out with the girls for a night and decides to cancel with the girlfriends because yet again he ‘forgot and came around anyway’, is already being controlled.In addition to the police and the courts, the understanding and response to this problem in Guyana by social workers, healthcare staff, the media and, most particularly faith organizations, is nowhere close to adequate. A leading expert in this area has noted that the “why doesn’t she just leave?” mentality permeates every agency:  they cannot appreciate that coercive control means she doesn’t have that choice.While the status of all women remains so vulnerable to domination and the coercive control of men, it is an illusion to believe that the rights of minorities, such as indigenous, migrant, trafficked, and disabled women along with women vulnerable to sexual orientation discrimination can be secured and protected.  This is not to undermine the struggle to secure and protect rights of these minorities.  It is more so to guard against any untroubled belief that women’s fundamental rights are so well-established that they can be submerged into generalities about ‘gender’ – for the next 15 years.**JOINT STATEMENT (European Union)Today we celebrate women’s role in society, at work, in our families and lives. We also remember their suffering, hardship and injustice, which for many is still a reality today. It is also true that we must promote gender equality not just today but every day.Since the very start of our European project, the European Union has been committed to achieving gender equality both within our borders and across the globe. We are proud of what we have achieved so far. More and more women both within the European Union and beyond have equal opportunities in the world of work, and are leaders in every field, be it business, politics or education.It is essential that we continue our efforts to integrate equality for women and men into every one of our policies across the board,Cheap Jerseys For Sale, in each of our Member States and in the countries we work with. Also within the Commission we will continue our strong commitment to gender equality. Women are still paid on average 16% less than men for every hour worked, still make up less than a quarter of company board positions and a third of women work part-time, notably because of care responsibilities that are not equitably shared with men.The European Union relentlessly combats sexism, discrimination, gender-based violence and inequality. Recent EU legislation secures victims’ rights, addresses trafficking in human beings, and promotes equal treatment. Initiatives this year will include addressing the work life balance of parents and the participation of women in the labour market. The Commission just tabled a proposal to ratify the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women; a clear signal that now is the time to step up our collective action.The European Union is also committed to taking forward the new 2030 United Nations Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, which includes a strong commitment to advance gender equality and empower women and girls around the world. In humanitarian emergencies, including the current refugee crises, the European Union strives to ensure that its humanitarian assistance responds to specific gender needs, in particular the vulnerabilities of migrant women. We are taking steps to empower women, to fight for their rights and their equal access to economic resources, and to address all forms of violence against women and girls, especially trafficking, female genital mutilation and early or forced marriage.**GUYANA ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN LAWYERSIn keeping with the theme for this year, ‘ Gender Equality by 2030’, the Guyana Association of Women Lawyers encourages women in Guyana to keep their eye on the prize, and work, together with all other women in the world to achieve this goal. Equality is not an elusive dream, as some persons would prefer to have us think, and we must insist that gender equality be observed in every facet of our lives. It is still a ‘man’s world’, even though we have made great strides in Guyana in having the law recognize our rights with respect to marriage, maintenance, division of property, and medical termination. There is still regrettably a disconnect however in achieving equal pay for work of equal value in all areas of employment. There is still discrimination in the workplace as evidenced by the discriminatory rules applied to female constabulary members and pregnancy, and the nurses at the Linden Hospital who were denied maternity leave privileges as the law allows. And sexual harassment is a cause for great concern and needs to be addressed frontally by legislation and workplace protocols. Importantly, housework is still not acknowledged by all of us, especially our menfolk, as being work. Hence, a woman who is a mother and wife or caregiver in the home is still regarded as a ‘housewife’ or ‘homemaker’ and not worthy of mutual respect, while women who work outside of the home are still regarded as working housewives . Thus, after a full day’s work, most, if not all women, ( regardless of status), meet more than their fair share of chores which ought to in fact be shared by all in the home, moreso because it is felt that the woman in the house will get it done regardless. For some women, help with one major chore can go a far way to easing their never – ending burdens.**Guyana Public Service UnionThe Guyana Public Service Union supports the theme for Gender Equality and envisages a world where all women and girls have equal opportunities and rights by 2030 and it also welcomes this initiative by the United Nations to make gender equality a global priority issue. The Union is committed to promote equality between women and men across the organization’s mandate since, it views equality as not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for the creation of development and a sustainable environment.According to a release from the USAID it is noted that when  women participate in civil society and politics, governments are more open, democratic and responsive to citizens. When women are at the negotiating table, peace agreements are more inclusive and durable. And simply by empowering women farmers with the same access to land, new technologies and capital as men,  crop yields can be increased by as much as 30 percent which indeed would be helping to feed a growing population.Therefore it is imperative that there be Gender Equality  for this ensures  better communities, better countries and consequently a better world.On this occasion the Union takes the opportunity to wish all women a Happy International Women’s Day 2016.**Guyana Association of Professional Social WorkersThe Guyana Association of Professional Social Workers (GAPSW) joins with the rest of the world in celebrating International Women’s Day 2016 under the theme “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it Up for Gender Equality”. Women worldwide continue to impress upon society their notable achievements within the family, the social, political, economic and cultural diaspora.March 8 is a very significant day in the lives of Guyanese women. Our women have been assuming multiple roles as mothers, wives, homemakers, teachers, lawyers, social workers, entrepreneurs; policy makers and in other spheres that were dominated by men. We often fail to accentuate the fact that our women are the very social fabric that continues to keep our society knitted.  Women have demonstrated the sort of strength and endurance that is translated into the true meaning of resilience and in particular they refuse to allow the many hardships they face on a daily basis to dictate and overcome them.As we celebrate international women’s day let us reflect on the journey thus far and continue to advocate for our women to ensure that their contributions are valued, their dignity is respected and they are able to negotiate a fair distribution of the benefits of growth.As an Association we stand committed to the global cause of promoting gender parity across all spheres of society. We acknowledge women’s economic participation and empowerment as fundamental to the strengthening of women’s rights and enabling them to have control over their lives and exert influence in society. We extend our hand in collaboration with the public and private sectors and civil society for purposeful action where we can collectively help our women to advance their equality and emancipation and realize the limitless potential they offer economies around the world.**Message from Mahila Mandalee on International Women’s DayObserved under the theme “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality,”International Women’s Day provides an important opportunity to keep women’s issues at the forefront. It celebrates the economic, academic, social and political achievements of women and the vital role they play in society while providing an occasion to promote the work that still needs to be done towards achieving true gender equality. Despite greater protection for the rights of women, including improved access to education, health care and employment, it is well recognized that women still do not enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men in many areas. Much work still needs to be done to end discrimination and violence against women and girls and to ensure equal participation and opportunities in all spheres of life.The Mahila Mandalee, women’s section of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, believes that education is key to achieving equality. In this regard, we have been working assiduously to promote literacy for women and children and to encourage girls to remain in school. We believe that literacy is the foundation for lifelong learning and is essential to social and human development in its ability to transform lives. In addition, the Mandalee has been organizing skills training programmes aimed at assisting women to become self-sufficient and has held seminars and conferences across the country at which women are encouraged to recognize their potential and worth.As we observe this most important day in the calendar for women, we encourage our sisters to believe in themselves and to be ambitious, to be willing to work towards achieving their dreams and to see the sky as the limit.In observance of the day as well as in commemoration of Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary, the Mandalee presented hampers containing personal care and essential food items to 50 women from Georgetown, East Bank Demerara and East and West Coast Demerara.
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