The Global Gender Gap Insight Report which has been published annually by the World Economic Forum since 2006 has been measuring gaps between men and women based on four key indicators: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Health and Survival, Educational Attainment and Political Empowerment. The 2022 edition covers 146 countries, including Guyana, which ranked 35th, moving up 18 slots from its 53rd ranking in 2021. Guyana also ranked 6th in the Latin America and Caribbean Region. Guyana has therefore recorded significant progress towards achieving gender equality, consistent with our ongoing rapid economic development.
In the area of Economic Participation and Opportunity, Guyana ranked 53rd globally. Gender equality at the level of legislators, senior officials and managers places Guyana in 17th place, an astonishing score of 0.879/1, and tied with other countries in 1st place for gender equality at the level of professional and technical workers globally.
Notably, in the areas of access to financial services, land assets and non-land assets, Guyana recorded “near equal rights” with distinctively equal rights for widows and daughters with regards to inheritance. These statistics are mere reflections of the accumulative results of the numerous projects and initiatives being implemented by Government through its various ministries and agencies. In Guyana, women, for example, can apply for and successfully acquire house lots, loans, mortgages, business registrations and other financial and nonfinancial assets which create economic stability and parity. Implementation of initiatives such as WIIN, empowerment grants for women, small business grants, and others, have created opportunities for women to become more involved in entrepreneurial activities and achieve greater economic independence.
In Education Attainment, Guyana ranks 1st globally, tying with 21 other countries such as Canada, Brazil, the Netherlands and Jamaica, which is the only other Caribbean country in first place. Guyana has also tied for 1st place with other countries in the ranking for enrolment in both secondary and tertiary education. This is especially important as it clearly indicates the outcomes and long-term impact of projects implemented by Government. The construction of schools and provision of human and other resources in Amerindian communities throughout the interior regions of Guyana has made education accessible and attainable, even during periods where Guyana has had limited fiscal capacity. Other pilot initiatives such as the school feeding and text-book provision programmes have grown to create even more opportunities for children and youth all across Guyana to access education as a fundamental human right. The school uniform vouchers also allowed parents and guardians to have more spending power to purchase supplies needed to send children to school, and with more resources available, government introduced a $10,000 cash grant in 2015 for children enrolled in schools. This cash grant project was stopped under the APNU/AFC government but was reintroduced in 2020 as soon as the PPP/C reassumed office. The “Because We Care” cash grant has been increased in 2022 to $30,000 further incentivizing enrolment in school and empowering every Guyanese parent and guardian to provide the basic necessities for their children to access a robust education. Other opportunities such as the introduction of GROW and GOAL scholarships have seen thousands of Guyanese benefitting from free tertiary education, and preparatory courses for tertiary education. In 2021, 6000 applicants were awarded full scholarships for tertiary studies, of which 69% were women and 31% were men. Notwithstanding, the Government of Guyana recognizes the importance of supporting boys and men, who for various reasons are not as actively involved in further education. Having recognized these existing gaps, Government continues to make efforts to encourage the participation of men and boys, and President Irfaan Ali has most recently announced the introduction of a Men on Mission (MoM) project; a 1000 men initiative aimed at engaging men across Guyana to tackle existing and emerging social issues.
In the “Health and Survival” index, Guyana yet again ranks 1st, tying with 27 other countries across the world. In sub-components of this index, such as Sex Ratio and Birth, and Healthy Life Expectancy, Guyana also ranks first globally. Women in Guyana are afforded reproductive autonomy and have a legal right to make their own decisions regarding reproduction. This right is further reflected in the mean age of women at the birth of their first child, which is recorded at 26.7 years old; a healthy age and a significant improvement from the situation in Guyana thirty years ago. Further, 98.5% of live births in Guyana are attended by skilled personnel. This is especially noteworthy considering Guyana’s geography and the diverse terrain across the 10 administrative regions. Whilst government recognizes gaps in healthcare provision and continues to plan for improvements, the construction of healthcare facilities including hospitals, outposts, and health centres, the training of healthcare professionals and consistent budgetary allocations for the health sector over the past two decades has created almost universal access to healthcare across Guyana.
Guyana has also recorded equal rights for men and women in access to justice, and men and women also have equal rights to divorce. These are only some of the civil and political rights sub-indices that are analysed in the report, however, other factors such as elections lists quotas and party membership quotas for women are also analysed.
It is important for us to recognize that development is measured as a combination of various elements, and each and every project and initiative implemented by government forms part of a larger vision towards promoting development and realizing the fundamental human rights of all Guyanese. The outcomes of each project when viewed in isolation may appear small however, the total impact of all the investments by Government creates positive change as is clearly shown in the 2022 Gender Gap Report.
The promotion of gender equality is no easy task, and the 2022 report even shows that various factors including the COVID-19 pandemic, global fuel and food crises, unprecedented natural disasters as a result of climate change, and civil conflicts have affected gender parity negatively on the global scale. Despite this fear of backsliding in even some of the most developed countries, Guyana’s ranking continues to rise; the results of the commitment over many years of the Government, rights commissions, and other key gender equality stakeholders in Guyana are becoming more evident. Government therefore acknowledges these positive changes as quintessential in creating comprehensive national development, and remains committed to promoting and protecting gender equality, consistent with its One Guyana vision.
Gender Gap Report 2021 and 2022 Comparison – Guyana
|Economic Participation and Opportunity||53rd||105th|
|Health and Survival||1st||1st (with 27 other states)|