The women leaders made this call yesterday in a day-long forum convened by the Gambia Committee against Traditional Practices, Gamcotrap. The theme of the forum was ‘promoting effective participation of women in governance and leadership positions’.
Nyimasata Sanneh-Bojang, first woman parliamentarian in The Gambia, Kaddjatou Forbes, independent candidate in 2012 parliamentary elections, and Amie Sillah, former PDOIS candidate all called for the effective participation of women in elections, politics, governance and leadership. Acording to them, the environment and laws are conducive for women to participate fully just like their male counterparts.
The forum brought together women representatives from different political parties, along with politicians and activists. It was aimed at enhancing awareness and consciousness of the public and relevant institutions about the need for women’s participation in governance and decision making processes in the Greater Banjul Area.
“In realisation that while women are mass supporters and voters, efforts should be made to have a significant number of women hold key leadership and decision-making positions to change the discriminatory practices that continue to marginalise women and increase their poverty and subordination,” Dr Isatou Touray, executive director of Gamcotrap, told the women at the opening of forum.
She said this 2014 project is to move the agenda forward for effective participation of women in leadership and decision-making positions within a gender sensitive and responsive democratic space. She added: “It acknowledges that change is necessary and possible where democracy and human rights are upheld as fundamental principles to advance gender equality and development. It aims to reach people and to facilitate dialogue among political parties to take note of women’s issues with regards to their participation in governance and democratic processes.”
Nyimasata Sanneh-Bojang added: “Since 1982, I have seen only few women parliamentarians. This is a cause for concern for me as the first woman parliamentarian in The Gambia. I want to see more women occupying decision-making positions. We have the political commitments and laws that make it all possible for women. So what is holding women from participating, because even the constitution empowers us to participate in elections?
“We want to see more female elected members in our parliament and the president cannot do that for us. We want the president to put everything for us on a silver plate? We have to show him that there are certain things that we need to fight for ourselves,” she said.
Kaddijatou Forbes who lost to APRC in Banjul Central, also expressed similar sentiments, stressing: “Women participation in politics and decision-making is very hard in The Gambia simply because we (women) don’t trust ourselves. We rather give to men than our fellow women.
“Another problem is that your fellow women will start criticising you than to support you which is very frustrating about women participation in politics. But if you are not brave [this can make] you give up… for me, I will never give up as far as I live. I trust myself and I must reach my aim.”
Amie Sillah, opposition PDOIS politician and former contestant, also decry the low participation of women in politics and decision making saying women need to be at the center of any development, especially in decision making, leadership and governance.
Author: Sainey Marenah]]>