GWI honours female employees on International Women’s Day

DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, March 08, 2018

The Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) today, honoured its female employees who have contributed significantly towards the success of the company.

The event which was hosted in Bartica in Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven), was part of the local observance of International Women’s Day (IWD).  It began with a walk from the Stelling to GWI’s office located at Fifth Avenue Second Street and also saw female employees of the utility company being presented with tokens.

GWI employees accompanied by Managing Director of GWI Dr. Richard Van West-Charles, Chairperson of GWI’s board Patricia Chase-Greene, Regional Chairman, Region Seven, Gordon Bradford and Mayor Bartica, Gifford Marshall, as they walked from the Bartica Stelling to GWI’s office at Fifth Avenue Second Street Bartica in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Minister of Public Affairs Dawn Hastings-Williams urged the large gathering to celebrate the achievement of those brave women who fought to make this day possible.  According to the Minister, Guyanese women have progressed and are more cognisant of their place in society, “Rather than being acquiescent, they now demand the respect they deserve and seek social and economic progress and development in society.”

“Every woman contributes meaningfully to society. Guyanese women can balance their personal responsibilities along with their success. The coalition government, through Ministry of Social Protection, is trying its best to empower women, through training sessions, seminars and getting women, especially those who suffer from violence, to get on board and resuscitated”, Minister Hastings-Williams said.

The minister called on women to stand up for their rights and be strong and demand the respect they deserve. She commended GWI for recognising and respecting the role their female employees play in the development of the organisation.

Thirty-five percent or 346 utility’s staff members are female. Over 200 are office-based while 82 are employed in the field. Job designations vary from regional managers, engineers, custom services supervisor to customer service representatives and water services inspectors among others.

Managing Director of GWI Dr. Richard Van West-Charles said the day is one which focuses on equity, fairness and justice and described it as vital to the country’s development.

Highlighting issue of gender gaps in GWI, Dr. Van-Charles stated that more women are needed in the areas of engineering and technology, “So, we have to look at a number of issues that will ensure that women get vacancies that are available. Sometimes it is important to push vacancies towards women. So we need to look at it and ensure those things happen.”

(from left) Mayor Bartica, Gifford Marshall, Regional Chairman, Region Seven, Gordon Bradford, Minister of Public Affairs Dawn Hastings-Williams, Managing Director of GWI Dr. Richard Van West-Charles and Chairperson of GWI’s Board Patricia Chase-Greene.

The Managing Director noted that old practices among men who may want to abuse and take advantage of women must change. He stated, “This matter is not singularly prominent to men there are women with class orientation tend to be dismissive of these approaches to women who they think are the lower class. So, I want to signal that as long as I am there, the present board is there, there is zero tolerance to that kind for behaviour.”

In going forward, Dr. Charles urged the women to stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before and made significant contributions. These, he noted, included Justice Desiree Bernard, Jane Phillips Gaye, Viola Burnham, Winifred Gaskin and former President Janet Jagan among others.

He also called for them to embrace the hashtag campaign – “#Press for Progress”, forge a positive visibility and celebrate their achievements while influencing others.

Chairperson of GWI’s board Patricia Chase-Greene noted that as the struggle to break the glass ceiling continues, the utility is setting the pace for others to follow. “The involvement of women was far and few on utility sector. Women rarely participated in jobs that were known as male jobs. GWI can proudly boast that women are included in every level of the company”, Chase-Greene said.

She congratulated GWI’s female staffers and encouraged them to advocate for progress in every sphere of their lives. She urged, “Do not be content with where you are and what you have accomplished. We live in an ever-changing world with limitless possibilities. Even when the journey becomes challenging or burdened do not give up or quit. Quitting should never be an option!”

Also present were Regional Chairman Gordon Bradford, Bartica Mayor Gifford Marshall  and Deputy Mayor Kamal Persaud and councillors of the municipality.

Participants at the event.

Regional Chairman, Region Seven, Gordon Bradford presents a token to one of GWI’s female employees.


By: Ranetta Labour Fleur