Seedy S.K. Njie, the deputy speaker of the National Assembly has underscored the government’s continued commitment to the empowerment of women in the country, saying “if we are really serious and committed about development, we must be serious in gender equality and women’s empowerment.”
Njie was speaking recently during the opening of a five-day workshop on promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the security sector in West Africa. The convergence was held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre in Bijilo.
“Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.”
The deputy speaker, who is also the chairman of the Defence and Security Committee of the National Assembly, said: “Gender equality is about equal opportunities, rights and responsibilities for women. It does not mean that women and men are the same. Gender inequality is a result of unequal power distribution between women and men, exacerbated by on-going discrimination, weaknesses in laws, policies and institutions, and social relations that normalise inequality.”
“The international community has recognised the importance of supporting gender equality through the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform for Action, the Millennium Development Goals, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development among others.”
“However, despite women constituting over half of the Gambian population and the numerous legislations to promote their rights and empowerment, there remain great challenges with regard to women’s ascendancy into leadership positions particularly in the security sector. In The Gambia, very few women occupied leadership positions not only in the Armed and Security Forces, but also in many other institutions. I am quite sure that this is the scenario in most ECOWAS states.”
“These figures not only demonstrate the disparity in our commitment to attaining gender equality in the security sector but also indicate the volume of work at hand to intensify advocacy to promote gender equality and women empowerment not only in the security sector but in all spheres of our development. However, let me hasten to say that with the current NSSR and the recent promotion and subsequent decorations of senior officers of The Gambia Armed forces by His Excellency President Adama Barrow which includes women serves as an inspiration.”
“If we are really serious and committed about development we must be serious in gender equality and women’s empowerment. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.”
The government of The Gambia, he added, has taken positive steps to promote gender equality and women empowerment, citing the ratification of many international protocols relating to the promotion of the rights of women and girls.
“The National Assembly, also cognizant of the importance of gender equality, has for the first time established a Gender Committee chaired by a woman. This Committee in collaboration with other Committees will promote gender and gender equality and ensure that gender issues are mainstreamed in our policies.”