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The message from Mr. Yarde on the occasion of International Women’s Day last Saturday reads: “On behalf of the Executive Council, General Council and members of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), I salute women worldwide and, moreso, those nationwide.
“None can deny the contribution of women to the advancement of our society. Lest we forget, as trade unionists, we recognise that it is our women who will bear, deliver and will continue to supply the future labour force of Guyana and worldwide. It is also the concern of our union, that as revealed in the Poverty Eradication Chapter of the National Development Strategy - ‘36.4 per cent of the population of Guyana lives in absolute poverty, and 19.1 per cent exists in a state of critical poverty’.
“It is in the context of the above, that the GPSU considers International Women’s Day. We cannot help but note that in the context of Guyana, women constitute the largest part of the labour force with the vast majority in the lower paid jobs, with the public service, of which about 60 per cent are women, numbered among the employed poor. This is a scourge that must be eradicated from our society, and a task to which the GPSU stands committed and views the 2003 theme, ‘Women organise for development and peace’, as most timely and appropriate.
“As President of the GPSU, I must pay tribute to the many women who ‘man’ the health services throughout Guyana, many at enormous sacrifices to their families. We also pay tribute to the thousands of others who provide valuable services on behalf of the Government and people of Guyana, who, though so often maligned, soldier on, recognising that services they provide are vital to the well-being of the nation.
“Finally, we recognise the thousands of women engaged in the sugar, rice, bauxite and timber industries; those who work in the food, beverage and hospitality industries, and those who satisfy our needs in the many municipal markets countrywide. We do not overlook those women who opt to remain at home to nurture the up-coming labour force of our country. To you all, the GPSU says thanks, for irrespective of your status and level of contribution the people of Guyana owe you all a debt of gratitude.”