… focuses on their place in the leadership
Government’s commitment to ensure that women are given the necessary wherewithal to take on leadership roles has manifested itself in the launching of yet another training programme at the Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute (GWLI), Cove and John, East Coast Demerara.
The programme which was launched under the theme “Building capacity for skills advancement” comprises courses in sewing, garment construction and fabric designing, food preparation and catering, and driving and salesmanship. Additionally, each class will benefit from courses in Office Procedures and entrepreneurial skills.
Delivering the keynote address, Minister of Labour, Manzoor Nadir said that over the next five months, approximately 150 women will undergo some amount of training through the GWLI.
He noted, “We have to change our minds with respect to the kind of work that women can do.”
Minister Nadir said that there are always advertisements seeking drivers/salesman in the daily newspapers. However, recognising that women could be just as effective as their male counterpart in this stream of work, he said that “we have to change the man to person because women are not confined to baking, sewing and answering telephones.”
Against this backdrop and the fact that the distribution sector is one of the fastest growing in the economy, the institute is also offering a course which will see 20 women undergo training as driver/salespersons.
The Minister said that even though acquiring a skill does not mean instant wealth, women who are trained are in a better position to make positive changes in their lives and that of their children, while at the same time engaging in income generating activities.
“Whatever skills you acquire will contribute to you taking up leadership positions,” Minister Nadir said.
He urged the women to get involved in activities outside of the home because less than half of the women folk in Guyana engage in economic activities, and according to the 2006 National Census, 52 percent of the population was women.
This means that 25 percent of the productive workforce is not engaged in activities that would contribute to the national economy.
Apart from the money that is being spent in the formal education system, Government spends more than $1.5B in additional training.
Minister Nadir said that the government funds for the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security alone will amount to approximately $131M to execute its training programmes this year.
Additionally, through donor organisations, the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) will spend $55M.
“We spend a tremendous amount of your taxpayer dollars to invest in skills training for people, especially those who did not complete their secondary education and if you don’t make full use of the training, then you are wasting your own money,” the Labour Minister asserted.
He reminded the audience of President Bharrat Jagdeo’s 2010 New Year’s message, where he said that Government will train 4000 people this year. He also urged the Administration of the GWLI to look beyond the traditional skills for women.
Minister Nadir added that through the labour exchange system and by monitoring the vacancies in the newspapers, the Ministry keeps on par with the kind of skills that are in demand in the country.
This year, the labour exchange will find employment for 2,500 people.
Chairperson of the Women and Gender Equality Commission and former Minister of Human Services, Indra Chandarpal, who spearheaded this initiative in its formative years, said that the programme is Government’s response to the need for empowering women in Guyana.
She also disclosed that the Ministry of Human Services is working to expand the programme and urged the women to make the most of the opportunity to improve themselves and their families.
The Mission of the Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute is to develop, promote and support women and girls as leaders and decision makers through education and training in order to facilitate equal accession and full participation in leadership and decision-making processes throughout the Guyanese society.
It was established on December 6, 1997. (GINA)
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