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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Letters: International Women’s Day, a reflection

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Dear editor,

No one should have to fight to have an equal society, especially for a group which holds “half the sky”. Equality, freedom, respect and dignity belong to everyone without distinction.

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No society advances which is half “free” and living on the privileges of the land and half encumbered by toxic masculinity, patriarchy, violence, illiteracy, poverty and unemployment.

No politics or governance structure can advance progressive whose women’s voices countless, are not at the decision-making table, are regarded as unworthy of leadership.

Women’s human rights are not charity to be doled out; they are entitlements to be demanded and obligations to be fulfilled.

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Women must be at table or create their own table. Their numerical strength is a dividend. For the privileges and goodies that come with being at the table, we men may not invite women to sit there as equal partners.

Women must find their own voices in this forced silence created by men. Women must band and bond together, and advance their own causes. We men won’t do it because it would upset the favourable status quo. Women’s unity is a threat to men’s privileges. Shatter the ceiling, I say.

Of the 18 Cabinet Ministers, only 4 are women. Women Cabinet Ministers have been always assigned to those traditionally associated with caring and welfare.

Of the 58 Parliamentarians, only 6 are women (3 of who are nominated)

Of the 8 LGAs, only 1 is headed by a woman

Of the 5 administrative Regions, there is only one woman Governor

Only about 15% of Local Councillors are women

There are no more than 12 women Alkalolu

There are no woman Chief

Since Independence there has been no woman IGP or DIGP, Governor of the Central Bank, head of the prisons, head of Immigration, head of Custom and Excise or head of the Fire and Rescue Service.

Nearly all the State-Owned Enterprises are headed by men.

More than half the Permanent Secretaries and Ambassadors/High Commissioners are men.

Most of the heads of the banks are men

The heads of all the Commissions, ever created, were/are men.

Women occupy “deputy” positions in nearly all of our political parties

In every theatre of decision-making men predominate, their voices the main to hear. We can’t continue to build our nation on such a foundation, with such a trajectory. 52% our population is female.

It is high time we engaged in soul searching, in a national dialogue which must insist women get their rightful place at the table… Or better still women go create their own table, and may be that is the alternative our women must pursue. Freedom is often reluctantly given.

Njundu Drammeh


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