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City of Banjul
Thursday, March 4, 2021

Women and politics: Fact, fiction and the way forward

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The Gambia under President Yahya Jammeh, has come a long way in this regard. From a time when women are literally not seen or heard within the lowest levels of the decision-making to a woman being the second-in-command of the affairs of the nation. From 1994 to date, women in this country have steadily been rising within the corridors of power and are among the most respected voices in this realm. 

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However we still are at a point where we need to adjust comparing our statistics to that of other nations who have made enviably greater strides in the area of women involvement in the governance and political process. With Rwanda’s 56% of parliamentarians being women, we can say there is still much work to be done here. In our bid to reach a full blown democracy, we cannot underestimate the gigantic role of the contribution of women, to not only be consulted but to be a part of the process itself.

 

To actively participate in the process of governance has been an issue women have always advocated. And truthfully, it’s only natural that the only people who can address their own problems are those who are going through it. But living in a society were politics and governance are associated with masculinity and male domination, this dream of having women address their own issues and problems becomes ever so distant. And in the case of The Gambia, we have still a long way to go in actualising this dream and making it possible. With only four out of forty three National Assembly members being female, we really are a long way from claiming women’s empowerment in politics and governance.

 

But empowerment of women in this regard will only be a dream realised when women take it upon themselves to work on their inclusion in the process. Organising conferences and ranting about being left out, will only make little changes. The true change will come about when women set about for example, contesting in large numbers in the elections and making their voices heard through the campaign process.

 

It’s imperative for every conscious and concerned citizen to also know that curtailing the rights of women’s participation is totally unhelpful in the promotion and sustenance of a viable democracy. Women are the most affected in many of the policies that are enacted by the government, so it’s only logical that they are involved in the making of those policies. That way, their rights and well-being will be guaranteed.

 

It’s a myth that women can’t contribute fully to our governance. The fictional fact that women are too emotional and weak to be at the forefront of the political process is one of the greatest hindrances in this regard. So it is imperative for the women who are educated and fit, to tackle this head on and strike the much-needed balance in the halls of parliament, the cabinet and any other place of great political significance.

 

Unless this is reality is realised by our women advocates and leaders, they shall forever be angry polemicists for a cause that requires more than polemics. The final say will be by the masses who are struggling every day, and whose majority are women.

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