By Olimatou Coker
The third edition of the Women’s Leadership Forum, WLF, ended last Thursday with clamoring calls for greater women inclusion in the country’s socio-economic and political structures.
It was held at a local hotel and was organised by Bridging Gaps Advisory, in collaboration with International Trade Centre and She-trades Board, under the theme the Power of inclusion.
The forum seeks to serve as a platform for a structured exchange between women and political, socio-economic leaders towards meaningful gender parity reforms. It was also to consolidate commitments to closing gender gaps especially at decision-making levels.
WLF was initiated to further commitment to the strategic development and advancement of women, according to Ramatoulie Barry Gaye, the CEO of Bridging Gaps Advisory.
“It was also to provide a platform for our women to discuss issues, share information and network”, she added.
She pointed out that the two previous editions of the WLF have attracted hundreds of participants, mostly women of diverse backgrounds and age groups. “This is a manifestation of the need for regular gathering of women to discuss issues relevant to their advancement.”
She explained that in September 2015, when world leaders adopted and committed themselves to the Sustainable Development Goals, they did so with the intention that the global landscape should be redefined to be more enabling and inclusive.
“The landscape should place women, men and children in implementation plans. It is a widely known fact that the inclusion of women in economic, social and political activities drives development in The Gambia,” the CEO said.
She singled out the high number of women entrepreneurs in the formal sector who continue to be constrained by multiple factors such as limited access to markets, finance and technical business skills.
Mrs Naffie Barry, chairperson of She-trades Board, said the She-trade initiative in the Gambia is very much in line with the theme for this year’s WLF.
“The project is empowering women-owned businesses through trade for enhanced economic inclusion and through the Gender Champion initiative,” she disclosed.
According to her, empowering Women through trade can be an effective driver for the economic inclusion of women, which has potential to reduce poverty.