Lamin Sanyang

When I look across the dusty streets of the Gambia and see women stuggle to put food on the dinner table, because we failed as a society to maximise women potentials. Gambian women can’t be empowered if they are not seated at the centre of decision making. What baffles me most is seeing women supporting and running after their male political oppressors during political campaigns. Gambian women are likely to vote for a male candidate as if they lack capable women ready to run for political office.

We all can agree that Gambian women have always historically participated in political activities such as speaking at political rallies but they are still underrepresented in our political institutions. We have smart and assertive women, and i will go so far to say that without women most political rallies will fail.Then why it is that women who could be powerful in any election not putting up candidates?  During difficult times for male politicians, women could be seen displaying signs and volunteer on demonstration or protest in campaigns. But after all these, women are consigned to the back especially when it comes to issues of political leadership. I know one thing is certain, women candidates are more scrutinise than men. Both men and women usually bring women’s potential and private background into the political conversation. The playing field have to be level and we can’t continue to marginalise them in the political sphere.

I am always surprise at the lack of recognition and inclusion of our women despite all their hysteria and fanfare during campaigns. Women have to fight for their place in politics. Gambian women, I believe their are missed opportunities to directly take control of our major political parties. Apart from substantive and legislative solutions, women have to organise and form strong associations within political parties and insisted on leading them or boycott parties that failed to recognise their demands. This can really change the political dynamics in our country. If women insist on leading parties on a rotationally basis with men and also challenge each other to think differently on the consequences or failure to deliver on the issue. Women should never underestimate their power to determine the outcome of elections.

During most of the constitutional review committee meetings  (CRC), one thing is not coming out strongly, ie legally setting of qoutas like Rywanda especially using the new constitution to stipulate that a certain percentage of positions have to be women. Do we think women are better of to be use by men to achieve their political goals? Are women better off staying at home to cook and do household chors? I know most households in the Gambia today are run, headed and finance by women. Even proud women feminist think they can achieve equality through men.

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