WPO condemns the upsurge in political

condemns the upsurge in political arassment and psychological abuse of
women as it reflects on its 64th Anniversary
May 27th marks 64 years since the Women’s Progressive Organization was formed
in 1953. Its forerunner, the WPEO formed in July 1946 came into being long
before the formation of a political party in this country.
The rationale for such a formation became necessary because of the poor
conditions women were living under and the absence of basic rights for them.
The foresight of Janet Jagan, who came into the country in 1943, recognized these
realities and immediately spoke to the issues in the National newspapers in 1944.
What were those conditions: it was the lack of education, abject poverty, poor
housing and living conditions, starvation wages and all the ills that are associated
with poverty and exploitation under colonial rule.
With the formation of the PPP in 1950 and the struggle for adult suffrage which
became a reality, women and men were given the opportunity to participate in
elections without conditions of property or position.
The winning of the 1953 national election in Guyana saw women being elevated
for the first time and three women were elected to the Legislative Council as well
as the position of the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.
The WPO was formed a few weeks after and the main purpose was to give
leadership to women in order for them to improve the lives of themselves, their
families, and to become involved in the development of their country. Educating
our girl children was the process which would make that possible, thus, the call
for mothers to send their daughters to school became the active mission of the
organization.
Simultaneously, the organization in collaboration with the PPP began its advocacy
for Independence. Thereafter, every effort was made to reach out to women,
especially those who were living in rural Guyana, to make them understand how
important education was for their children.
Those initiatives were the precursor to what eventually occurred in the late
1950’s where women began to take their place in pivotal ways in Guyana.With government playing a more significant role in providing education more
people, especially Indo Guyanese who because of their religion were not
prepared to convert to Christianity, were stepping forward in getting their
children enrolled in primary schools.
Thus consequently, the call to get mothers to send their children to school was
beginning to bear fruit. People recognized that having an education provided the
opportunity to make choices in all areas of life. Unfortunately, the period in which
National Service was used as a tool for students to graduate prevented a lot of
Indo Guyanese women from completing their educations.
When the PPP/C won the elections of 1992 the opportunity to accelerate
developments in all areas of women’s empowerment became a reality for all
women. These included numerous initiatives of the government, such as,
legislation, policies and programs, signing of conventions and international
commitments. The PPP/c record on women’s rights is indeed impressive.
Ever since the APNU/Coalition came into office they have embarked on a program
of witch-hunting and ethnic exclusion. What is distressing to note is that the
majority of those who are being removed and replaced are Indo Guyanese
including a number of women? Indian women have been ridiculed over the years
for being passive and invisible and when for the first time they have an
opportunity to shine they are being singled out and discriminated against. All
women including Indo Guyanese must have an opportunity to grow and
contribute to Guyana’s National development.
We use this occasion to call on all women to stand firm and let their voices be
heard. We must use the available means and methods to expose all the
harassment and exclusion of our women. We condemn the harassment of
women especially the recent action against Ms. Azeena Baksh Registrar of Deeds
which smacks of political harassment and psychological abuse.
As we reflect on 64 years we use this opportunity to thank all those who have
contributed in one way or the other to the growth and development of the
organization.


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