Neneh Touray made this revelation recently at the University of The Gambia School of Law campus as part of celebration marking International Women’s Day.
She said: “In The Gambia, the female population constitutes 52 percent and according to the 2003 Population and Housing Census, women form 78 percent of the economically active population compared to only 57 percent of men. The majority of them are farmers forming 40 percent which is geared towards improving the socio-economic development of this country. Most of the gains they get from their farming activities are ploughed back to their family in the form of paying school fees and taking care of other household needs.
“In the field of education, significant progress has been made especially in improvement and retention. At the basic level, enrolment for girls was 98.7 percent compared to 95.4 percent for boys including ‘madarassa’ education by 2014. Completion at secondary level has also increased from 25.2 percent to 32.4 percent in 2014. These achievements were registered due to several initiatives such as the education policy 2004-2015, the Girls’ Education Trust Fund, child friendly school initiatives, setting up the mothers club and others.”
According to her reproductive health issues constitute a leading challenge in the country but several interventions have been initiated to improve the reproductive health status of women.
“Many maternal deaths occur below 35 years of age and the risk of dying from maternal related causes is about 1 in 23 for each but the risk still is high in rural areas while access to high quality care services is 24 hours per day,” she said. As far as gender-based violence is concerned, women in this country face a lot of violence such as physical, emotional, psychological and economic violence and this violence cause lot of hindrance when women themselves accept the violence.”
Meanwhile, Amie Kujabi, the national coordinator of Think Young Women has said that empowerment of women should take a holistic approach. She stated that by looking at the social, political, economical and environmental factors, young women in The Gambia must have the enabling environment to compete for equal opportunities.
“Let’s make every day women’s day although March 8 is the day set aside for the major celebration,” she said. If you better the life of women you better the life of all.”
Saiba Suso, the programme officer at Activista said: “This day [International Women’s Day] is a historic day more than century ago, when women take the streets demanding for better living condition and an acceptable standard of living; they were courageous for paving the way for other women.”
Suso stated that women continue to experience discrimination in many areas such as education, labour market, religion, job opportunities and decision making.
Alieu Nyang, the European Union program manager for non-states actors, civil society and agriculture said: “The EU delegation in The Gambia acknowledges the government’s contribution and achievements and implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Programme for Action. We recognise the enactment of several legislations such as the Children’s Act 2005, Women’s Act 2010, Domestic Violence Act 2013 and the Sexual Offences Act 2013. We also recognise that the Gambia government has initiated a number of activities and adopted policies on the rights of women in The Gambia.”
The event was organised by Think Young Women in collaboration with He for She Campaign under the theme, ‘Equality for All is Progress for All.’]]>