Sunday, March 26

‘Half of All Women in Gambia Are Unemployed’-Darboe –

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By Sheriff Musa

Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) leader Hon. ANM Ousainu Darboe has said that around half of all women in The Gambia are unemployed, including those who have given up looking for work.

In his Message on International Women’s Day Wednesday, he said moreover, on average, women still earn far less than men.

“We must overcome the idea that a woman’s place is in the home. Even women who have jobs are often expected to do housework and childcare, making it more difficult for them to find employment, earn a decent wage, be promoted, or start a business.

This situation is simply unacceptable we must work inclusively to change the status quo in the Gambia and advocate for change across the world,” he said in his nationwide address.

The UDP leader said: “The economic empowerment of women is an important pillar of our struggle to achieve gender parity. We have recognised that unequal access to resources and economic opportunity makes it more difficult for women to escape situations of abuse and violence.”

“On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we call on men and women across society to intensify the fight against gender-based discrimination,” he added.

He urged that from the beginning, “we must ensure that girls and young women have equal access to education and an equal chance to succeed and that they need to be able to pursue studies of their choice, especially in areas that have traditionally been the preserve of men.

“One of the achievements of the Gambia since independence is that girls and boys are equally represented in primary and secondary education. There are currently more female students enrolled at institutions of higher learning than males,” he pointed out.

He added: “This is great progress. But it has yet to translate into our boardrooms and the formal economy, where women are more likely to be unemployed than men.”

 According to him, globally The Gambia is actively involved in the UN Women’s Generation Equality Campaign, which is mobilising countries and people worldwide to achieve gender equality in this generation.

“Through this, we must work tirelessly for economic transformation that empowers and benefits women. Practically, this means improving access for women to financial services, business opportunities, land, and technology,” he added.

Hon. Darboe stated that on the African continent, our nation must support the adoption of the Protocol on Women in Trade to promote the participation of women in the African Continental Free Trade Area.

He noted that this is a huge opportunity to enable women-owned businesses to benefit from the rapid growth in trade between African countries over the next few years, adding that The Gambia needs to be ready to make use of the opportunities that arise on the continent.

“As a country, we must shift economic power into the hands of women through, among other things, earmarking 40% of all public procurement for women-owned businesses.

To achieve this, the Gambia Government must provide training for women entrepreneurs so that they can tender for government contracts and successfully provide the goods and services that Government needs. But that should be only the start of a process of radical gender mainstreaming,” he pointed out.

He added that “our ambition as a people must be to open up opportunities for women businesses in the broader economy.”

Hon. Darboe stated that on this International Women’s Day, we should celebrate the diverse achievements of women in all walks of life and also recognise that the gap between the economic position of men and women is still huge.

 “We must use this day to reaffirm our shared commitment to work even harder to narrow that gap and to, within a generation, get rid of it,” he noted.