Today is a most noteworthy day all across the world, as we pause, as we consider and as we celebrate women… those in our family, in leadership and in our contemporary spaces that add unspeakable value to our lives and the complex world in which we live.
While our embrace, recognition and honour for our womenfolk must, as an absolute imperative, be a continuous standard of daily life; on this day, set aside for special global observance, we take particular pride in prioritizing our efforts to salute and offer tributes to our women in their multiplicity of roles and endeavors.
As I contemplate my own expressions and thoughts today, I recall the leadership strengths unleashed on Guyana, the region and indeed the world, by our first female President in Guyana and all of South America, the late incomparable Excellency Janet Jagan.
In her opening address to the fourth CARICOM-CENTRAL AMERICA ministerial meeting on March 22, 1999 in Georgetown, President Jagan’s intellectual and leadership strengths were on full display when she noted that… “We need a new dispensation in the arena of world politics and economics. The smaller economies are not begging for handouts. We are merely sounding warning signals that the root causes for social and political upheavals continue to prevail and can be removed. We must work together for a better understanding of our special circumstances. And we have to prove by example that we are committed to the development of our people’s well-being.”
Women in every facet of our Guyanese society have risen and continue to rise to the challenge of leadership in their own small spaces and across our country to inspire us men and our children to do better.
The role of women in shaping society cannot be overstated and must not be underestimated. The centrality of their myriad roles is well established in progressive societies and the results of their endeavours are almost always unquestionable.
The proposition of this very consideration was best coined in the simplest of language by the late, great Margaret Thatcher who admonishes us in her immortalized warning that “If you want something said, ask a man, if you want something done, ask a WOMAN’.
Today, I heed that call in asking our Guyanese women to continue rising to the challenge of nation building, in getting things done, whether in business, in academia, in professional spheres, in your homes, your community or in governance,… still not your voice, withhold not you thoughts, minimize not your actions, and consider not the limits to which you can rise and deliver.
I encourage you to be patient but vigilant, as we continue to shape our nation and destiny together, to achieve what internationally acclaimed actor and activist Emma Watson envisioned when she said… “we need to live in a culture that values and respects and looks up to and idolizes women as much as men”.
I wish you all a very happy and rewarding International Women’s day.