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City of Banjul
Wednesday, September 28, 2022

I celebrate women because they are women

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The world is struggling with many political and economic challenges, and women carry most of the burden of these struggles in the homes, workplaces, and the wider community.

I celebrate all women who have struggled, are struggling and are willing to struggle to make a better living with dignity. We must continue to #breakthebiases based on gender. It has never been easy and will never be easy, but together with courageous men, we will slowly break down the biases wherever and whenever they surface to make the world a better place for all.

Grandmother accepted her fate as society imposed on her. She was a researcher – trying herbs and roots to find out which one could treat wounds, and a scientist who did an observational study on which one healed stomach ache. She was an entrepreneur who traded and made little profits to support her family. Yet, she has never been to school. 

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Mother was withdrawn from school to marry. In her generation, a woman only earned respect as a domestic manager. She knew how to manage the twenty-four hours she had to switch roles from one job to the other. She changed from a sweetheart to a mother. She loved caring for her children and adults around her while taking up the roles of both chef with the best gourmet and waitress at the same time. 

When her child gets hurt, she quickly switches to a nurse and healer role while thinking of her part-time job as a cleaner. 

Her role as a launderette takes half the day because she does the laundry for all the children, her husband, and her in-laws before noon so that the midday sunlight will disinfect the clothes and perhaps serve as the hot iron. That reduces the burden of ironing on her. As the sun sets and she completes her chores for the day, she settles to plan for the next day. Despite the heavy schedule, she learns a skill or two to save money for the family.

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She learns to be a hairdresser and does beautiful braids decorated with beads and cowry shells.  

As a seamstress, she patches up the old clothes or turns them into new ones for the children. It made her proud when they had their hairdo and new clothes on, even without a pair of shoes, a luxury they enjoy only on special occasions or feasts.

With all she endures, on rare occasions, the food gets burned because she indulges in the laundry, or the food gets too salty, she faces the heavy arm of her husband. She will be embarrassed in the presence of her children with verbal abuse. The children may be young, but they feel sad for their mum, yet she puts up a brave face and smiles at them. She has a job to do, bring them up to be stronger than her. She moulds them to be respectful to others but to stand against bullies. She taught them to speak out when they are hurt and not suffer in silence. She taught them to stand for justice and not accept others to define them. Mum brought them up to appreciate that their skills are valuable thus deserve pay. Therefore:

When they take up the role of a wife, they deserve love, care and respect. 

When they are mothers, they deserve appreciation.

When they are nurses or healthcare providers, they deserve recognition.

When they are chefs, they deserve the “Chef’s Award”.

When they become researchers, scientists name them in the “hall of fame”.

When they are fashion designers and hairdressers, they deserve a place on the world stage and,

When they combine all these skills and manage them to the best of their ability, we celebrate them. 

I, therefore, celebrate all women because we are managers of our world and deserve better.

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