Remarkable gender parity recorded across all sectors
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Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water Susan Rodrigues
Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water Susan Rodrigues

–Minister Rodrigues says, outlines specific areas of significant improvement

THE government has been making significant strides in the area of gender parity, and this could been seen by the remarkable equity for women in the areas of education, housing, finance, agriculture and many other sectors, Minister within the Ministry of Housing, Susan Rodrigues has said.

In her address at the Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry Guyana (WCCIG) Founder’s Award and Dinner on Saturday, Minister Rodrigues not only said that a lot is being done to promote gender equality, but also shared statistics from a number of government programmes which significantly benefited women.
According to the minister, in the area of housing, approximately 8,000 or 44 per cent of the 18,052 house lots allocated by the government over the past two years were allocated to single women, while another 5,136, or 28 per cent, of the applications had women as part of a joint application.

“The impact of this on these woman’s life is unimaginable, to achieve this status of independence,” Minister Rodrigues said.
Meanwhile at the Guyana Bank of Trade and Industry, some $4.4 billion in loans, including commercial loans and mortgages, went to women-only transactions.
At the New Building Society (NBS), single holders female customers received a whopping $17.3 billion in loans, representing 25.8 per cent of the institution’s total mortgage portfolio.
Further, according to Minister Rodrigues, in agriculture, 33 per cent of the country’s farmers are women.

This will be further bolstered by conscious targets that the government has placed for women’s involvement in several ongoing and upcoming food security projects and programmes. This includes the shade-house project, and black belly sheep initiative.

“This is active, and conscious planning and ensuring all the projects and programmes are geared towards helping women,” Minister Rodrigues said, adding: “When you see women achieving it, it is because we have the right policy and programmes. These things don’t happen by accident; you have to put an emphasis on vulnerable groups, as a government, and women fall into that category.”

In education, the minister noted that approximately 69 per cent of the 6,000 scholarships awarded in 2021 under the Guyana Online Learning Academy (GOAL) programme were female, while in 2022, women accounted for another 68 per cent of the awardees.

Minister Rodrigues also pointed to the massive achievement the country saw in its improved ranking in the recent World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2022.
“When you study that report in depth, when you look at the numbers of Guyana when compared to countries of the Caribbean or Latin America or even the developed world, this is an indication that the growth in our economy is matching the economic participation, opportunity and development of the country, and of its people as a whole,” Minister Rodrigues said.

She added: “We are passionate about building this country, and ensuring that the next generation of leaders, young people and children, have a better Guyana left for them. That is my ultimate dream for the young people.”

In statistics from the report, Guyana leapt from being ranked 53rd to 35th for gender equality globally.
A total of 146 countries were assessed for the report from the Geneva, Switzerland-based organization, which has been tracking progress on the closing of gender gaps globally since 2006.
For Latin America and the Caribbean, the report noted that Guyana is one of three countries that has “improved their gender parity scores the most” from 2021 to now.

For educational attainment, the country moved 39 places from 91st in 2021 to 57th in 2022.

As it relates to health and survival, 2021 saw the country scoring first with other countries, and maintaining that position in 2022 with 27 other countries placing first for political empowerment. The country also moved up two places from 44th in 2021 to 42nd in 2022.

“These numbers don’t lie. This is what the World Economic Forum report is saying; this is how our country is performing. We have a lot to celebrate; we have come far as a country. We have to ensure we take advantage of all the opportunities,” Minister Rodrigues said in closing.

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