Gender activist calls for more women empowerment
By Sulayman Waan
Fatima Jarju, Programme Associate for Think Young Women (TYW) has urged The Gambia Government and political leaders to empower women to ensure their effective participation and contribute to decision-making processes.
“We have a lot of competent and well-educated women who can deliver for the country in all aspects. If women are seen as very viable and vibrant people, I believe the Government should include them in decision-making processes,” she told this reporter during just concluded National Youth Conference and Festival (NAYCONF) in Banjul.
The gender activist said considering the number of women in the executive and legislature, one would understand that women are not given priority in terms of representation.
“Women constitute the majority of our population and at the same time the majority of eligible voters in The Gambia, she stated.
“In my honest opinion, women empowerment is very low in The Gambia. Looking at the Government, women participation is not considered. The number of women in cabinet are not even more than five.”
The Gambia has about 22 cabinet ministers and 58 members of the National Assembly. However, out of these numbers, there are only four women in the executive and five women in parliament.
However, the young activist believes there should have been more women both in cabinet and National Assembly to empower women as well as contribute immensely to national development.
“Looking at our country’s social settings, which are dominated by men in all sectors, women should at least be given an opportunity to have a voice in decision-making processes on issues of national concerns,” she said.
Miss Jarju challenged political parties to consider involving women and give them political positions within their parties.
“Majority of their party militants are women, majority of voters are women and women are their support based, but it is unfortunate that is the same political leaders who marginalize female politicians,” she said.
She argued that if political leaders do not believe in female politicians, then no one will believe them.
She also highlighted challenges women are confronted with in the health sector, saying that there has been an increase in the number of maternal deaths in Gambian hospitals over the past years.
She said to address the challenges women faces, there is a greater need for women empowerment. “I am sure if many women are in the National Assembly and cabinet, they will be able to make changes that would benefit their fellow women and the country as a whole,” she said.