Prioritisation is a developmental tool that enables a country to address its most urgent challenges in sequence so that it becomes easier to subsequently address lesser challenges. One cannot put up a roof without building the walls of a house. Needless to say, a house without foundation cannot stand for long.
This is precisely why the international community has seen the need to end the discrimination of one half of human society, that is, the women. By so doing, a society founded on sovereign men and women equal in dignity and rights would surface. This would undoubtedly serve as the foundation of a human, just and prosperous society. 8th March therefore is established for all countries to take stock on how far they have gone to implement the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the various Acts aimed at domesticating international conventions.
The Constitution of The Gambia states under section 28:
“(1) Women shall be accorded full and equal dignity of the person with men.
(2) Women shall have the right to equal treatment with men, including equal opportunities in political, economic and social activities.”
Furthermore, section 214 of the Constitution states:
“In the composition of the Government, women shall be fairly represented.”
A review of the current state of affairs would reveal that there are three elected members and three nominated members in the national assembly, constituting six out of fifty eight national assembly members.
In the Cabinet there are three women in a twenty member cabinet. In this regard, The Gambia has a long way to go in meeting the goals of the Constitution and international conventions. The 2020 commemoration of women’s day should encourage the media in particular and all women’s organisations to examine the draft constitution and determine whether it provides the remedy necessary to enhance the equal participation of women in the administrative, political, economic, social and cultural life of the country.
Foroyaa will continue the reality check on women’s participation in governance to promote redress.