to the United Nations, the International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on
progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and
determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the
history of their countries and communities.
But it’s also a day to reflect on the achievements and commitments demonstrated by rural women across the globe. Rural women are general hard working, and in The Gambia, it is evident that most of the agricultural works are shouldered by women.
It’s important to note that rural women should be empowered in all aspects. They are vulnerable in terms of climate change and in many cases are not given maximum attention by authorities.
The rural women of The Gambia have to be commended for their hard work and dedication to national development.
Their fundamental contributions to their households, the food production systems and national economy are well known, and deserves acknowledgement by the government and the international community.
They can be found busy working on their rice and groundnut fields, as well as busy taking care of the family.
They work all day, struggling with little support or no support for some of them.
The International Women’s Day also reflects on gender equality – which includes empowering women to participate in politics and other national development.
In 2016, the Women’s Bureau in collaboration with FAO launched US$250,000 project dubbed Rural Women Empowerment in Agriculture Project’ – a component of the Gambia Women Empowerment Programme (GAMWEP) funded by the African Solidarity Trust Fund.
GAMWEP was designed to create a conducive environment that will spur women’s active participation in profitable sustainable agricultural activities.
The project was also aimed at providing women farmers with better access to land and other productive resources.
“Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world,” say UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres.
He argues that activism and advocacy of generations of women has borne fruit and that there are more girls in school than ever before; more women are doing paid work and in senior roles in the private sector, academia, politics and in international organisations, including the United Nations.
Gender equality is enshrined in countless laws, and harmful practices like female genital mutilation and child marriage have been outlawed in many countries.
But serious obstacles remain if we are to address the historic power imbalances that underpin discrimination and exploitation.
“No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men.”
Muhammad Ali Jinnah