President Donald Ramotar says he selected Director General of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ambassador Harper to be his prime ministerial candidate because he hoped that being a victim of domestic violence she would motivate other women to speak out.
“One of the reasons that I chose Lis Harper to be my Prime Ministerial candidate is that I believe that we need to redouble our efforts in tackling this scourge on our society.
I hoped, by highlighting her own personal story, detailing her own abuse, more women will have the courage to step up and say something,” Ramotar said in an address to mark International Women’s Day being observed on Sunday, March 8.
The Guyanese leader hoped that Harper’s focus on domestic violence during the campaign for the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections, Guyana can “can shine a light and begin to eradicate this scourge from our society.”
Harper recently appeared on the state-owned and government controlled television station in a canned interviewing, alleging that her previous husband had physically had abused her.
The theme of this year’s observance is “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It!”
The President said that Harper’s selection as his running mate was proof that of his and the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic’s commitment to continue addressing issues that impact on women.
Meanwhile, the National Congress of Women (NCW)- the women’s arm of the opposition People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) said the attitude towards women has changed over the decades, are key decision-makers, have equal rights under the law and are now more are role models.
However, the NCW expressed concern that women remained poorly paid, cannot easily access some social services and are still mostly victims of violence. “The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men,” the PNCR’s added.
Saying that it is pushing “Women for National Unity”,” the NCW urged Guyanese to make that change for a better life by voting APNU+ Alliance For Change.
In addition to concerns about the high incidence of domestic violence against women and children, and maternal death, the Alliance For Change (AFC) bemoaned government’s response to Trafficking In Persons. “The Guyanese reality, however, is that on some planes, we are sliding down a perilous slope, competing with the worst of the world’s nations engaged in Trafficking in Persons (TIP).
This scourge on our society endangers the lives of our young girls and the fast increasing incidences throws into stark relief the inability, ineptitude and unwillingness of the incumbent government to stem the flow. The egregious absence of institutions to house and effectively rehabilitate the victims of TIP, contribute to the growth of this harmful ‘industry’,” the part said.
The Women’s Advisory Council (WAC) of the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) urged that equality of women and girls must not be limited to the workplace but must be taught from a very early age at home. “It must start as a process of socialisation from birth, so that in transitioning to adulthood the young girl would know and accept a role in society that is not limited by anyone, system or structures,” he said.