The Women and Gender Equality Commission on Friday observed International Women’s Day 2018 under the patronage of the First Lady of Guyana, Mrs Sandra Granger.The event, held at the National Library, saw the attendance of First Lady Sandra Granger, Human Rights Attorney Melinda Janki, and former Attorney General Anil Nandall, among others.In her address to the forum, the First Lady noted that women must command respect, establish control, and take responsibility. She noted that violence has become very prevalent, and today’s society has become inured to this issue. In most cases, women are the victims of gender-based violence.From left to right: Human Rights Attorney Melinda Janki, First Lady Sandra Granger and former Attorney General Anil NandlallCrime is also on the rise, she observed, and that more severely in Regions Three, Four and Six. This is mainly because there aren’t many reports from remote areas, although there are acts of crime due to the stereotypical household scheme wherein women accept violent behaviours from men.Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall noted there should be more focus on the awareness of events such as International Women’s Day in the hinterland and rural areas. He said this observance is “organised” in urban areas.Human Rights Attorney Melinda Janki‘s discourse demonstrated how Guyana can improve accessibility to justice for women. She said there should be gender quality in today’s generation, and women should be given equal importance and opportunities as men.“Equality is not just a goal or a principle of international law; it’s a requirement of national law,” Janki said.The human rights attorney also made a number of recommendations that Guyana can implement to ensure protection of women. One such recommendation is that a harmonised code of law on women’s rights should be produced, and should contain all laws protecting women, but those should be set out as a code, and not separate laws. Legal aid services should also be provided, with priority being given to matters that affect women, such as gender-based violence and other forms of discrimination.