Wednesday, February 27, 2013

‘Inadequate capacity undermines women empowerment in The Gambia’

The same factors are also undermining the elimination of violence against women and girls in the West African nation: Serrekunda (Photo credit: D. Piris)
Inadequate human resource capacity and limited coordination of intervention continues to undermine efforts in accelerating the empowerment of women movements in The Gambia, according to Lamin Jobarteh.

The Gambia’s Justice Minister said the same factors are also undermining the elimination of violence against women and girls in the tiny West African nation.

His statement was read by Lamin Touray, the Registrar of Companies Ministry of Justice during a Feb. 20-21, 2013 validation workshop on “Case studies on violence against women and gender-based violence in The Gambia” and “Women’s social movement in West Africa: Gambia women on The Move”, held at Bijilo, western Gambia.

“These case studies are relevant in examining the legislative climate of this country in the area of women’s right movement, promotion and protection of the rights of women, men, boys and girls,” he said.

Mr Jobarteh said the role of government in the empowerment of women and in eliminating violence against women and girls is in two folds: by ensuring there are preventive measures to mitigate violence; and to put in place legislative mechanisms for litigation and addressing impunity.

He noted that the Government of The Gambia has set up a broad-based mechanism for addressing violence against women through the domestication of regional and international conventions and protocol.

Best practices

“The government is also fulfilling its reporting obligation on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW, and the African Union Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality, African Women Decade 2010-2020.

Chilli by the dozen, Serrekunda market, The Gambia
Chilli by the dozen, Serrekunda market, The Gambia (Photo credit: ambabheg)
He explained that the enactment of the Sexual Offence Bill is to amend the law and procedure relating to the trial of rape and other sexual offences.

The rationale behind these amendments is to bring the law in line with best practices and current developments in criminal law and procedure relating to the trail of rape and sexual offences in general, he argued.

“Over the years, UNESCO has given special focus to the participation of women in the definition of their national problems and priorities, to enhance socio-economic and sustainable development that addresses their needs and well-being,” Yahya Al-Matarr Jobe said.

The acting Secretary General Gambia National Commission for UNESCO, NATCOM, said gender perspectives are central to all UNESCO activities as in line with the agency’s gender equality action plan, and its efforts to effectively and systematically mainstream gender equality considerations.

Gambia’s National Assembly deputy Speaker Hon. Fatou Mbye said the case studies are timely and relevant to this year’s theme for the United Nations Commission meeting on the Status of Women (UNCSW) to be held in New York.

The government of the Gambia has recognized the significant contribution of women and girls in socio-economic development of country, she claims.

The study on gender-based violence and violence against women in The Gambia focused on the northern Central River Region.

But, Hon. Mbye said the study clearly indicate the unequal distribution of gender power in “patriarchal societies” where men have more access to productive resources and more power to decision making.

“This indeed perpetuates violence and women are always the underprivileged in such societies or communities,” she said. “The studies also indicated that men who beat their wives take it as a mechanism to enjoy power and means of control in a patriarchal society.”

Written by Modou S. Joof

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