Sandra Granger, wife of APNU presidential candidate David Granger, has made her debut on the campaign trail at a party-organised Women’s Forum on Tuesday.
Attendees at the event held at the Georgetown Club were drawn primarily from the National Congress of Women, the female arm of the PNCR which is the backbone of the opposition coalition.
You can listen to the entire forum by clicking the GREEN PLAY button here:
Speaking on the issue of gender equality Mrs. Granger said there were still some biases to overcome.
“In the region of Latin America and the Caribbean we generally earn less for the same amount of labour, we are positioned at the lower sectors of the capital market, we experience greater levels of unemployment and poverty and although Guyana had a fair representation of our women in the last parliament … we still are under-represented in a lot of the macro-levels of decision-making in political institutions,” she stated.
Mrs. Granger added that women are also experiencing more gender-based violence which has a significant impact on their physical and psychological health.
“I think sometimes it’s because of behaviours we see in public life, I don’t have empirical evidence but this is my view as a woman, that we have this upsurge in domestic violence. Although we have all this legislation in place there is not this desire to implement the legislation to ensure that justice is done to victims of domestic violence,” she said.
Mrs. Granger drew on an APNU line stating that the coalition would need to look at lowering VAT and address the disparity in the health services.
She added there is also a return to “objectifying” women in advertisements and stated that it is an issue that has to be addressed by women.
“We are the ones who have to go back and tell our girl children and the young ladies we know this is not right, you have to be more than this. We have to become positive role models and encourage and instill in our girl children and every girl child we know to believe that they can and must succeed and they start by doing it with education,” she declared.
Mrs. Granger said the facts are before the women and they need to decide what it is they want for their future.
“This is our chance at this point in our history to decide whether we want continuity of what we have or we want a change to get empowered as women, as citizens to move on to a good life and to make sure that all of us regardless of social strata move on and develop and grow under an APNU government.”
Women’s rights activist Karen De Souza said women of Guyana have dedicated the skill of survival, of management and rearing children and she believes that the APNU will create space to demonstrate what women can do.
Turning to gender abuse, she noted that Guyana has some very good laws but said they all add up to naught if they are not implemented.
“I don’t buy the argument that you show concern by passing laws, that’s step one, the easiest part. After that you have to talk seriously about how we protecting women and children in this country.”
De Souza also touched on education saying that she never had a school building but always had teachers who taught and students left school literate.
“We can talk all we want about how many buildings are in place, but then what, they go to school but nobody is teaching them so we have what is called government by project; they have this project and that project and the other project,” she declared.
According to De Souza, the APNU is not an easy choice for citizens but it is the commitment to work with people to determine the future that is its selling point.
“I believe that the parties that have come together in the APNU are going forward and we are going forward with them into waters that we have not chartered before in this country; we know the chartered waters and they didn’t do us a lot of good so we don’t have anything to lose by going forward into the unchartered,” De Souza said.
“Enough is enough; is time to tek back we dignity,” she concluded.