Panafrican News Agency

‘Gambian Women deserve more leadership roles in politics’-Gender activist

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - Musu Bakoto Saho, a gender lecturer at the University of The Gambia and national coordinator of Think Young Women, said here Sunday women in The Gambia deserved more leadership roles in politics than just cheering leaders and mobilizing.

She made the statement in a presentation as resource persons here at the end of a one-week women leaders at grassroots levels training on leadership organized by the NGOs Westminster Foundation for Democracy and intergovernmental coalition Community of Democracies office in the Gambia.

These women are already active in politics at both national and grass roots levels, but they are limited by experience, resources of the civic space existing in The Gambia.

In her presentation, Ms Saho, who is also deputy Executive Secretary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in The Gambia, noted that women in The Gambia had been the greatest supporters of men candidates within the parties to which they belonged.

“They serve as mobilisers, organise rallies and are responsible for the smooth running of the events. Women constitute 58% of all registered Gambian voters, yet majority of the decision-making platforms are occupied by men and the political arena is also largely dominated by men,” she said.

Currently, women represent 50.5 per cent of the country’s population. Less women find themselves in relevant positions within political parties, in the civil service and other relevant decision-making processes.

She described it as “astounding” to discover that in 2020, only three out of the current 48 elected members in the National Assembly were women in addition to three nominated members, making a total of six out of 58 members.

“The total percentage of women in Parliament is 10.3 per cent. In Cabinet, only 4 out of the 23 members are women,” she said, noting that these figures were far below the Gambia’s commitment to attaining gender equality in this field.

During the workshop, participants were exposed to tools, and strategies that empowered their participation and more effective roles in politics.

The objective of the workshop was to encourage and support political participation of women in The Gambia, and prepare them to become effective leaders on equal footing with men.

Neneh Freda Gomez, a founding member of the political party, Citizen Alliance, and the country coordinator for Global Hearts of Medical Missions equally deplored the situation of women in Gambian politics.

"We are in this situation because we are made to, women are never factored in when men sit to plan and make political decisions," she said.

"The importance of having women in politics is to give the perspective of a woman consideration in the decision making because men would decide on things without factoring in the woman element, the family element and the child element," Gomez stated.

The Secretary General of the Community for Democracies, Thomas E. Garrett, argued that women leaders prioritized policies that emphasized health care, social welfare and education.

“States where women hold more political power are less likely to go to war and less likely to commit human rights abuses,” he said, noting that the women participants would help transform The Gambia into a full-fledged democracy.   


-0-     PANA     MSS/RA    22Nov2020