QUESTION OF THE DAY
Crisis As Women’s Council Become Politicised
Section 57 of the Women’s Act establishes the Women’s Council as an association acting in the interest of all women.
The Council is established to carry out the following functions:
The functions of the Council are to-
(a) develop methods for the integration and implementation of gender and women’s rights initiatives in all areas of Government activities;
(b) review proposals from Ministries and other organs of the public sector regarding legislation and written communications to ensure that gender perspectives have been considered to achieve equal representation of men and women in all programmes and initiatives of Government, Local Government Authorities and all public Institutions;
(c) initiate education for all public officers and authorities regarding equality between women and men;
(d) ensure that the budget and appropriation issues of the Government, Local Government Authorities and other public bodies and institutions comply with the gender policy of the Government;
(e) cooperate with civil society organisations towards the achievement of gender
(f) source for funds for development work and projects within this field;
(g) provide information regarding government’s policy and work for gender equality on bi-annual basis;
(h) advise the Government
(i) regularly on women’s rights issues,
(ii) on the education and training of women in all fields of human activity; and
(iii) on proper measures to be taken in mobilising and integrating women as equal partners in the economic, social, and cultural development of The Gambia;
(i) monitor the compliance of this Act through annual reports from all Government and public institutions to the Bureau.
(j) examine and study the economic, social and cultural structure of the society and advise the Government on areas where the participation of women should be encouraged and strengthened;
(k) study and advise the Government, on how traditional beliefs and practices can be reviewed and reformed with a view to ensuring the advancement of women and eliminating all practices that are harmful to women; and
(I) study and devise programmes to assist the Government in the establishment of machinery and procedure for the continuous review and evaluation of the progress made by women in the field of national development.
Interestingly enough the Women’s Council which is established with the task to eradicate all forms of discrimination against women is confronted with the challenge of discrimination against Kumba Camara in Sami Constituency. The Women’s Bureau should guide the Women’s Council so that no one will transform the institution into organs for promotion of the interest of a political party. The Vice President and Minister for Women’s Affairs should find out.
Reports have it that an electoral process was introduced to select members of the Women’s Council in Sami Constituency. The Women’s Bureau should handle the Sami dispute regarding membership in the Women’s Council with tremendous care. Any attempt to reverse a selection process by using strong-arm tactic would undermine the integrity of the electorate.