first_imgDear Editor,I was absolutely delighted to read the Guyana Times report of March 9, 2018, about the exhibition entitled “African Guyanese Women” which was mounted to mark International Women’s Day through the collaborative efforts of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) and the United Nations Association of Guyana (UNAG) in cooperation with Castellani House.This important exhibition highlighted the contributions of African Guyanese women such as People’s National Congress (PNC) stalwarts Viola Burnham, Winifred Gaskin and Shirley Field Ridley, and also paid homage to the African women who endured the hardships of slavery.In light of Guyana’s diverse racial/ethnic population, I am sure the above-mentioned organisations that brought this exhibition to fruition intended no slight and are now working to mount a similar one to showcase the contributions of the other two-thirds of the country’s women who are Indian, Portuguese, Chinese, and mixed Guyanese, and women of the First Nations.Women from these communities also made commendable contributions to national development politically, socially and culturally, and are descendants of mothers and grandmothers who endured the hardships of indentureship and, in the instance of the First Nations, the brutalities of colonial conquest.They also endured hardships brought on by more recent political and socio-economic situations such as the 28-year PNC dictatorship, and I would suggest that the exhibitors pay homage to the current plight of the mainly Indian Guyanese women and their families who are managing to survive on sugar estates that have been shut down by the Granger Government.No one would ever accuse the M&CC, UNAG and Castellani House of ever subscribing to any prejudiced view that African Guyanese women are singular or superior in their contributions over all the other women of Guyana so I am sure they intended to stage an even larger exhibition to honour the other two-thirds of Guyanese women.In order to help them in their research and planning, I will list just a few names of women who must be included: Guyana’s first and only woman President, Janet Jagan; trailblazing businesswoman Lyla Kissoon; academic Dr Desrey Fox; historian Sr Noel Menez; poet Mahadai Das; artists Betsy Karim, Stephanie Correia and Bernadette Persaud; philanthropist Ameena Gafoor; environmental activist Annette Arjoon-Martins; Gladys Ramsarran, the first woman in the West Indies to qualify as a lawyer in 1932; Clara Ramdehol who had the distinction of being the second woman to qualify as a lawyer; and martyrs Kowsilla and Sumintra who gave their lives for this country’s freedom.I and communities of women across Guyana are anxiously awaiting the announcement of the date for the grand opening of the M&CC, UNAG and Castellani House’s exhibition entitled “Indian Guyanese Women, Portuguese Guyanese Women, Chinese Guyanese Women, Mixed Guyanese Women, and Women of the First Nations.”The title is somewhat cumbersome and the prior exhibition could have been entitled simply “Guyanese Women” had it included women from every community, except that the M&CC, UNAG and Castellani House chose to be selective.International Women’s Day has come and gone but the contributions of the women from the other two-thirds of Guyana’s population who were not selected for the exhibition will not ever go unrecognised because they have bequeathed a living, breathing legacy to future generations who will stand on their brave shoulders and achieve even greater heights no matter what prejudices they face from groups within our society.I am sure that the M&CC, UNAG and Castellani House will agree with these sentiments.Sincerely,Ryhaan Shahlast_img