May 30, 2011, 2:45 PM
Women are reputed to be the catalyst and engine of positive social and political change in this modern state.
Micro-credits in women’s hands are seen as an effective means of combating poverty, and the integration of women in the process of conflict regulation is regarded as a guarantee of successful consolidation of freedom and the foundation of politics equated with the hope of social progress.
Women empowerment is a priority in the guidelines for state and non-state organizations in development cooperation and in the statutes of political parties.
However, the issue of the roles of the sexes is more than the role of women in general. The man’s roles are also at stake, for the roles of women and men are interdependent. If there is an alteration in the way women perceive themselves within society, men are necessarily also influenced by it. In the orient the man’s self image is still more or less intact, much to the chagrin of many women.
The idea of women as agents of social and political change goes back in the late seventeenth century and this is inseparably linked to the fight for equal rights. A declaration was made on the right of women and the female citizen in 1791, demanding to secure the rights of women.
Today the world is undergoing significant political and social transformations and the legal situation for women is gradually improved. Women’s education became a goal of national development and most of the criminal laws were abolished.
The 1979 convention against all forms of discrimination against women passed by the United Nations, had been made the global community’s agenda by ‘gender turn’.
In the case of The Gambia the government has created the enable environment for women in education, agriculture, health, politics and other fields. Gambian women have been empowered to undertake any development endeavours in the advancement of the country. The Gambia government under the Ministry of Women’s Affairs has developed positive policies supporting the women’s advancement including the Women’s Act 2010.
Gender mainstreaming programmes are being generously financed as training and coaching for women. This fact alone is a complete historical novelty and illustrates how women activists have succeeded in bringing about change of direction in the political discourse that is described as a gender turn.