Women seek 16 parliament reservation seats

Apr 12, 2021, 11:20 AM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

The Gambian Constitution and the Women’s Act 2010 guarantee women's participation in politics. On Saturday women from diverse environments met to validate a draft bill that seeks 16 reserved seats for women at the National Assembly, which will make 71 seats at the parliament, if approved. 

The objective behind the process is for The Gambia to uphold its international obligation to implement through legislation, the commitments enshrined in both the CEDAW and the Maputo Protocols, in ensuring that women enjoy genuine de facto equality with men at all levels of decision making, including representation at the National Assembly.

Janet R. Sallah-Njie, the consultant of the process honoured to associate with the initiative to put in place the appropriate mechanism through legislation, to accelerate genuine de facto equality between men and women in the political arena, especially the representation at the parliament.

“The government in the National Development Plan of (2018-2020) committed to delivering "good governance and accountability, social cohesion, and national reconciliation and a revitalised and transformed economy for the wellbeing of all Gambians". In recognition of the fact that gender equality and women's empowerment are still major challenges in Gambian society, the NDP also seeks to empower Gambian women to achieve their full potential as a key driver of the Plan, in line with the strategic objectives of the National Gender Policy (2010-2020).”

She further explained that despite the significant strides and changes in social equality policies and legislation, women remain underrepresented at all levels of decision-making in The Gambia, saying that is particularly evident in the political sphere. She added that the underrepresentation is due to the cultural bias that favours men, and inhibit women's participation in the political arena.

Tabu Njie Sarr, CSOs, Gender Platform, explained that the civic society gender platform is an advocacy group comprising women’s rights organisations and individuals, saying it was established to provide support in the transitional justice programme to advocate for gender justice.

“The platform considered participation and development as fundamental human rights of the citizen, particularly women and girls and people living with a disability. The state has the duty to promote it and fulfill it.”

Hon. Fatoumata Touma Njai, the National Assembly for Banjul South, thanked all who participated in the process, affirming that the idea started in December between IRI and her. She said the need can only be implemented in next elections. She called on both men and women to support the bill and adopt it as their own. 

The bill has six clauses that seek to increase the composition of the National Assembly to cater for reserved seats for women and persons with disabilities, as well seek to impose an obligation on all political parties to promote gender equality in the selection of candidates to contest for National Assembly elections.

Read Other Articles In Headlines
Matarr Ceesay
Gambia College denies report of bush fire damage on properties
Jan 25, 2021, 11:54 AM

Matarr Ceesay, the deputy program coordinator at The Gambia College annexed in Basse (URR) has denied reports that the school’s properties were damaged by last week’s bush fire around the college premises.

Jammeh and Junglers
‘Junglers killed over 80 people’
Feb 4, 2022, 12:44 PM

The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) has highlighted in its report that former President Yahya Jammeh was the architect of the ‘junglers’ – a hit-squad that killed and tortured people he considered his enemies.

Sallah and Ceesay
Dr. Ismaila Ceesay pays tribute Hon Sallah
Mar 4, 2022, 12:41 PM

The leader of Citizens' Alliance (CA), Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, has paid tribute to Hon. Halifah Sallah of People's Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) as veteran politician is set for retirement from active politics.

Barrow and Jammeh v2
RSF urges Barrow to request extradition of Jammeh on crime against journalists
Aug 31, 2021, 12:53 PM

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has urged President Adama Barrow to decriminalise all press offenses and to request the extradition of former president Yahya Jammeh for his role into several crimes against journalists including the assassination of RSF's correspondent Deyda Hydara in 2004.