CAFRA launches introductory reader for women studies

Stabroek News
March 17, 2000

ĎAn Introductory Reader for Women's Studies in Guyana', launched by the Guyana Chapter of the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA), is recommended for educational purposes at the secondary and tertiary levels.

Material for the 185-page publication was put together over the past 12 years and compiled and edited by researcher Hazel Woolford. It was launched at the Hotel Tower last week on the occasion of International Women's Day.

Present at the launching were Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Indra Chandarpal, former president Janet Jagan, a national representative of Suriname, Maggie Schmeits, head of the Canadian International Development Agency's (CIDA) local office, Kamoji Wachiira and a number of invitees from local women's organisations.

The publication was funded by CIDA.

There were only seven copies available at the launching which were intended mainly for the ceremonial handing over from the sponsors to officials. A shipment is expected shortly which will allow copies to be placed in local bookstores and other outlets.

Chandarpal who was the first national representative of the Guyana Chapter of CAFRA gave a background to the founding of the organisation and noted that some of its earlier members included Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Gail Teixeira.

The book, which is recommended for students at the secondary and tertiary levels, is divided into sections which look at Marriage/Family Patterns, Resistance, Social Movements, Education, Ethnicity, and Women in Politics.

Woolford herself authored `Women in Riots'; `Governors wives and social work/organisations'; and `African-Guyanese female politicians: 1946 - 1992'.

Moneeta Singh, a former Stabroek News sub-editor, contributed the piece on Guyana's first female president, `Janet Jagan: An outstanding woman in Guyanese politics". Carmen Jarvis was the author of `The history of the Girl Guides Movement in Guyana' and Minerva Alexander, `The history of home economics in Guyana'.

In the Ethnicity section Nesha Haniff authored `Anjani Singh'.

Male contributors dominate the Marriage/Family Patterns section with Nigel Westmaas writing on `The slave woman: Her conditions and belief'; Dr Dale Bisnauth, `Marriages in the logie lines'; and Brian Moore, `Sex and Marriage among East Indian Immigrants in British Guiana during the 19th century'. Doris Rogers, the lone female in this section, looked at `Marriage in the traditional African Society.

Stella Bagot, Doreen Holder, Marva Burke and Sandra Granger contributed to the `The single African Guyanese middle class woman' and `The value of the pilot study'. They also wrote `The heritage of the African Guyanese woman from her West African origins to the first half of the twentieth century' and `Images of the Black Woman in recent Guyanese literature'.