vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs, Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang has
affirmed that the government of the Gambia supports family wellbeing as in an ideal
family environment, a woman achieves scholarly growth.
“She achieves personal growth. She achieves ethical growth. She achieves political growth. She becomes a pioneer in the most essential social issues. Yet she remains a woman,” she said.
VP Jallow-Tambajang was speaking at an opening ceremony of an international consultation on Islam, family Well-being and Traditional practices such a FGM. The event was attended by over 350 participants, including leading scholars and Islamic leaders from the sub Saharan Africa.
About four months ago, UN populations fund (UNFPA) supported the government of Chad and The Chadian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs to hold an international symposium on Islam, Family Well-being and Harnessing the Demographic Dividend.
That meeting brought together over 1500 delegates from across Chad and the Sahel to discuss issues pertaining to the well-being of the family and how Islam as a religion places strong emphasis in promoting and protecting the rights of women and girls for more organised families and ultimately better communities and nations.
One of the outcomes of that gathering is a document called N’Djamena Declaration which outlines the importance of working with Muslim Religious Leaders and Scholars to build strong leadership and committed partnerships to scale up initiatives and programmes that support girls and women to attain their fullest potentials.
This one in Banjul, as a follow up to the N’Djameh conference has the overall objective of equipping religious leaders and the scholar participants – drawn from The Gambia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau and Nigeria – with information and knowledge in order to garner their support in the implementation of programmes on FGM and Family Planning.
The Vice President further told the gathering that being a woman is an advantage and a source of pride. “Isolating women from womanly environments and characteristics will not bring about any honour for women. Housekeeping, raising children and taking care of one’s husband must not be considered a source of disgrace for women.
“Islam regards women as dignified. Men and women share the same human characteristics. A human being is a human being before being a man or a woman. People are equal as far as their human nature is concerned. This is the Islamic view,” she further argued.
UN Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, and 5 are on Good Health, Wellbeing, Quality Education and Gender Equality respectively.
According to the VP, it is absolutely necessary and urgent that during this consultative meeting clarity on misconceptions associated with Islam, and Family Planning, Female Genital Mutilation, Child Marriage, Domestic and Sexual Violence is achieved. “This will be made within the context of development planning and the sustainable development goals,” she added.