Essential outcomes from Women Leadership Forum that could shape Gambian women

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

One of the important outcomes that emanated from the recently concluded Women Leadership Forum is the recommendation that  Bridging Gaps Advisory (BGA) engage the government to replicate Rwanda laws that ensure woman fill at least 30% of leadership roles, and build partnerships with men in he/she strategies based on full recognition of the principles of gender equality among others.

Through these actions, Bridging Gaps Advisory, in collaboration with the different partners, expects to see at least a 5% increase in the number of women at key decision-making positions, and especially at board level, by the next annual Women’s Leadership Forum.

Bridging Gaps Advisory wishes to acknowledge all stakeholders involved, and anticipates their active participation in next year’s and subsequent Women’s Leadership Fora.  

The Forum follows the successful launch of Leading Women Magazine, a periodical jointly developed by the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), with Bridging Gaps Advisory, giving voice to inspiring Gambian women and allowing aspiring professionals to learn from and emulate their incredible life and professional journeys as well as their contributions to national development.

While much progress has been made for women in The Gambia over the past decades, the advancement of many continues to be restricted by factors such as cultural beliefs and norms, and gender inequities. A survey conducted by Bridging Gaps Advisory this year to understand the leadership landscape in the country, indicates that gender disparities are perpetuated by the limited representation and participation of women at decision-making and policy levels, making many policies and programmes insensitive to women’s needs.

The survey, which targeted 20 institutions in both the public and private sector, shows the following male-female representations: in civil service – 69% male, 31% female; at Board membership level – 87% male, 13% female; at Director level – 87% male, 13% female; at Senior Manager level– 82% male, 18% female; and at Manager level– 76% male, 24% female.

With women making up over half of the country’s population (51%), it is imperative that all stakeholders make that extra effort to increase and ensure their active participation at all levels, including on boards, and close the gender gap.

It is against this backdrop that the first edition of the Women’s Leadership Forum was held bearing the theme ‘Making it Happen Together’. Organized by Bridging Gaps Advisory and attended by various key partners, the Forum enabled the different stakeholders to discuss current and emerging issues perpetuating the gender divide, come up with concrete recommendations that would contribute to sustainable approaches for the advancement of women, and especially find ways to encourage the participation of more women at board member level. It also served as a platform for women leaders from different works of life to learn from one another, share their visions and experiences, inspire others and build networks. 

In delivering the keynote remarks at the forum, Mrs. Nancy Nyang, stepping in for the Vice President Her Excellency Fatoumatta-Tambajang, emphasized that some women deserve recognition for their inestimable contributions towards the success of most male government officials.

Other speakers include the Mrs. Emily Sarr representing UNDP Resident Representative, Perpetua Katepa-Kalalathe Resident Representative for Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mustapha Njie, CEO of TafAfrica Homes Company, Aina Wright Moore Managing Director of Ecobank Sierra Leone, Janet Sallah Njie Proprietor of Torodo Chambers, and Fatou M Jallow Project Coordinator of Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), among many other incredible women.