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At a simple ceremony yesterday at the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (Red House) to mark the WPO’s 50th anniversary, President Bharrat Jagdeo said the “remarkable women” who struggled under the banner of the WPO not only waged battles on the women front but also struggled “for all of us.”
Founder members of the WPO, Mrs. Janet Jagan, Ms. Christina Ramjattan, Ms, Jameran Mohamed and Mrs. Philomena Sahoye-Shury were honoured at the ceremony with presentations of bouquets.
The President, in acknowledging the relentless struggle waged by women in every facet of life, paid a special tribute to the first woman President of Guyana, Mrs. Janet Jagan, for her “sterling and persistent struggle for independence, democracy and women’s rights.” He expressed surprise that a woman of her stature had not been invited to a conference on women’s advocacy and participation in politics in the Caribbean that is currently taking place in Guyana.
He noted the pain, suffering and sacrifice endured by women in the struggle to improve their lives and that of the people of this country.
However, he observed that the struggle for women’s rights has not concluded because new challenges and difficulties affecting women have arisen, including teenage pregnancy, violence, single parentage and HIV/AIDS.
Mrs. Jagan, recalling the early struggles waged by the WPO, pointed out that the organization initiated a national campaign to persuade and encourage parents to send their daughters to school because at that time the perception was that the home was the only place for women.
She expressed satisfaction that the struggle has borne fruit, noting that women account for more than fifty percent of the workforce in tertiary institutions.
She also recalled that the late President and Leader of the PPP, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, “firmly and genuinely” believed in the equality of women, always championing their cause.