Since time immemorial, women have been in the forefront of developmental activities in our societies starting from the primary roles at home as caregivers. It is no secret that women naturally, are hard-working and put family first. However, these roles are not being recognised due to the corrupt constructs of our societies where being a male is glorified. Women have suffered in the hands of unscrupulous men and society sees it as normal, they have to bear as if it’s a crime to be born a woman.
Women in rural communities bear the brunt of such injustices and are taught to stay silent even if it means losing their lives, because speaking up against abuse means you are weak and that it’s a dishonor to your family name. Society has erected walls to set limitations for women and the same society infringes upon the rights of these women. In fact, in some societies, women do not at all have any right.
It’s heartbreaking that women in my native village Gunjur, most of who depend on agriculture to feed their families and school their kids from the sales of their produce, have been stripped off their rights to use portions of the land they use for farming. They have been asked to give up their lands by corrupt clan heads who later sold the land to the mining sector. What is more heart-wrenching is that some of these women have not been compensated and only few were given a token as a form of compensation. This amount compared to what these women garner from the farm is beyond scalable.
It may interest you to know that these areas used by women gardeners sold to the mining sector through corrupt means are under serious destruction and threatens the lives and the livelihoods of this fishing community in Southern Gambia. To help you understand the gravity of what’s happening, the last sand dune between the community and the sea is being mined and what will become of the community when that’s been razed is anybody’s guess. These women are calling on the government, NGOs and friends of the environment to help raise awareness about the exploitation taking place.
But there is only one viable solution to this menace, the young people especially women taking up advocacy and leadership roles. It’s time to take rightful positions to reclaim the honour, dignity and voices of women which has been consumed by society.