Mar 24, 2010, 11:35 AM
The West African Network for Peace Building
(WANEP) The Gambia in collaboration with the Unite Nations Human Rights (UNHR)
Commission and Article 19 concluded a two-day training of women in political
The training course was held at the Paradise Suites Hotel, aimed at providing the potential candidates with the rare opportunity to retrace the steps of Gambian women, from colonialism to date, who were not only the foundation for women’s participation in the political process, but paved the way for the women of today to play a part in politics and decision-making.
Speaking on the occasion, Nancy A. Niang, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, thanked WANEP Gambia and its partners for organising such a forum, noting that it is timely, as women’s participation in politics is very important in any country.
Ms Niang emphasised on the need for women to participate in politics, saying it was not uncommon to learn of a handful of women, that are represented or nominated to serve in positions of decision-making at the national level, to often render the process legitimate and inclusive.
In her welcoming remarks, Anna Jones, National Network Coordinator, WANEP The Gambia, expressed gratitude to the participants, saying the women represent more than half of the country’s population.
She added that women’s full participation in political and electoral processes has its origins in the principles of non-discrimination, and equal enjoyment of political rights enshrined in Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted in 1948.
Mrs Jones further noted that much progress has been made in The Gambia to advance the plight of women, and to recognize the important role women could play in decision-making.
She expressed hope that the two-day training course would be beneficial to all women, and increase their winning chances.
She advocated to all party selection committees to be gender sensitive in their composition and selection process, without which the participation of women would still need to face their respective party selection committees.
The UN Resident Coordinator in The Gambia, Ms Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje, thanked WANEP and their partners for organising the training course, saying encouraging and advocating for women’s participation in public and political life are key in the UN’s work on women’s empowerment.
In the The Gambia, women remain under-represented as political leaders and elected officials, she said, adding that the percentage of women in the National Assembly is below 10%, which is still well below the 30 percent target of the African Union.
Mrs Fatou Jagne Senghor, regional Director Article 19, also joined the previous speakers to emphasis more on the need for women’s participation in politics, noting that it is key in any developing country.