Earlier today, the Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud, joined a virtual meeting of Commonwealth Ministers for Women’s Affairs and Gender and Development on COVID-19.
During her presentation, Minister Persaud highlighted the Government of Guyana’s (GoG) responses to support the vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, which included the Survivors Advocacy Programme, Child Care Assistance Programme and Data collection plans under the Spotlight Initiative.
Dr Persaud told her colleagues that the lives of Guyanese have changed drastically since Guyana confirmed its first imported case back in March of this year. She said that the pandemic continues to have serious socio-economic repercussions on the lives of women.
“As a consequence of the partial lockdown, significant sections of the female working population are now unemployed or are receiving reduced pay, including single parents. Many women-owned small businesses are no longer operational and women in the private care industry have lost their jobs because they can no longer work at the homes of their employers due to fear of COVID-19 transmission,” she related.
The Minister stated that the Government of Guyana has instituted several measures to not only cushion the negative economic and social impacts, but that will guarantee sustained economic independence, reduce inequalities and empower women throughout Guyana.
“We are determined that there should be no reversal of hard-won gains and that our progress towards achieving empowerment for women and girls and gender equality should continue. As a short term measure, thousands of hampers and care packages are being distributed across Guyana to bring immediate relief to families. Vulnerable communities are being especially targeted for relief. In addition, a cash transfer programme will soon be implemented to bring relief to every household in Guyana,” she said.
Dr Persaud noted that in the long term, and with the goal of making women self-sufficient over a sustained period, the Government will soon fund projects for small cottage industries led by women so that they can secure their livelihoods.