Dec 11, 2008, 5:22 AM
The promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women is a goal that United Nations member states have committed themselves to within the Millennium Development Goals says Dr Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy, Vice President and Minister of Women's Affairs.
Speaking at the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), at the Kairaba Beach Hotel yesterday, on the theme "Alive in Women's Lives", VP Njie noted that it is not possible to realize the other goals without significant progress towards gender equity and the empowerment of women.
She noted the crucial role that women play, which she posited must be played in all efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger, to reduce child mortality, combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases and ensure environmental sustainability, which needs to be recognized and valued.
"Africa has done a lot to embrace and implement CEDAW. Almost all African countries have ratified the Convention. Most countries now have constitutions that incorporate provisions for gender equality inspired by UN CEDAW," she said, adding that most countries have legislation and other policies that reflect the awareness of the importance of gender equality, although in some countries, the gap between boys and girls in education is at basic level.
She highlighted that Africa has done a lot to embrace and implement CEDAW, while other countries have ratified the convention. She stated that the Gambia has done and learned in their effort to implement UN CEDAW, and initially signed and ratified both UN CEDAW and the AU Protocol.
"The Committee considered the Gambia's combine periodic report on the 15 of July 2005 and submitted to the government of the Gambia its concluding comments, indicating both positive aspects and principal areas of concern and recommendations. Since then, concrete actions were undertaken by government to strengthen the positive areas and ensure that the concerns raised are addressed", Vice President Njie-Saidy added.
She described the commemoration as an opportunity for all the women and in their respective countries to reflect on concrete actions that will improve the conditions, situation and position of women in the spirit of UN CEDAW. She further added that the commemoration is also a moment for rededication of all stakeholders towards the elimination of discrimination against women by taking necessary measures to achieve that goal. She assured that her government will continue to partner with all key stakeholders including United Nations system and other development agencies committed to the promotion and protection of the rights of all without discrimination.