Dec 20, 2012, 9:20 AM
Gambia has hosted the World Deliver Women’s Forum; a major international forum
on women, organised by World
Movement for Democracy Centre
for International Private
Enterprise in collaboration with Future
In Our Hands The Gambia.
The forum aims to strengthen women voices in governance and broader society by exploring mutual interests among women leaders from government, civil society and other private sector, and encouraging effective partnerships to strengthen inclusive in the Gambia.
It is expected to provoke lively discussion and peer- to - peer learning opportunities on topics of policy advocacy and implementation of Gambia’s Nation Development Plan, responsive governance in The Gambia: Ethics, society, economic and political inclusion, inclusive approaches to entrepreneurship and policy engagement.
Hannah Forster, Executive Director, African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, who spoke on strengthening women voices in governance and broader society in The Gambia said while women comprise 56% of the electoral body, they are seriously underrepresented in elected and appointed bodies.
“With a female presence of only 7% in the National Assembly, they form less than 23 percent in local councils and about 17% at the level of the central executive,” she said.
She added that gender rights present challenges from multiple perspectives, ranging from deficit in political party participation and representation to a culture of marginalisation of women and violations of their fundamental human rights.
“Moreover, women are discouraged to voice their problems and concerns and are exposed to constant pressures of a patriarchal society. We must note the importance of women participation and accept that they most lead the change in making democracy deliver.”
Madam Forster also said the important role that women play in processes and providing all the opportunities possible for the benefit of the communities and the nation need to be recognised.
“Women need to be encouraged to get out of our comfort zones and reach across the different sectors to find mutual interest in advancing inclusive democracy policies and reform that benefits us and our communities,” she added.
According to her, Government efforts need to be complimented, saying all hands must be on deck and the role of women in government, public and private partnership cannot be overemphasised.
Kumba Sanneh, board chairperson of Future In Our Hands applauded the partnership towards the campaign from starting to date, saying she has been hoping that there will be a fulfilled outcome at the end of the forum.
Sarata Conateh, programme officer of Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry highlighted the need for support to provide the enabling environment for business to grow. She also highlighted the partnership between her institution and Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) towards the development of businesses, especially young entrepreneurs.