6 April 2017

Why we should vote for women candidates

First parliamentary elections The Gambia under new President Adama Barrow

Since the historic conference on women in 1995 in Beijing, there became a universal recognition that in order to ensure a more just society with improved economic wellbeing for all, there is need for a gender quota in power and decision-making institutions and processes. So, let us vote for women during this 6th April elections, to actually give practical meaning to women’s empowerment and equality in our Gambian society.

By: Madi, former Shelter City participant from The Gambia

In 1995 it was recognized that since women constitute more than half of the world’s population yet remain the poorest, with the highest percentage of the illiterate and most politically disempowered there is need to bring in more women in centres where decisions are made about laws, resource distribution and wealth creation. It was recognized that in most parts of the world, even in more advanced democracies, women face discrimination and oppression in all spheres of life and society, which is being backed by culture, religion and capitalism hence the imbalance between men and women.

 

The reality of women cannot be better explained than in the story of the life of a Gambian woman. Due to the harmful parts of our socio-cultural beliefs and misconceived Islamic ideas, the Gambian girl and woman remain the poorest, least educated and most powerless in our society. Consequently the Gambian woman has become most vulnerable as she is abused at home, in the community, at the work place, in business and inside our political parties where women continue to be behind.

 

When we vote for women, we empower the entire the society. When we vote for women we enhance family life and give children a better future. When we vote for women, we advance our democracy and ensure durable good governance in our country. This is because when we vote for women we bring in other voices and stakeholders in the room who raise more issues from another perspective. Let us use this election to therefore break the barriers and shatter those backward cultural beliefs that hold that women are not leaders.

 

Let us bear in mind that the trend in the world is opening the space for equal representation of both sexes. This is not a matter of favour or charity or a mere feminist utopia. But this is practically a matter of justice and equality so that all members of a society have equal space to participate in the life of that society. The discrimination that women face is unfair and unjust as it is based on nothing other than anachronistic male chauvinism embedded in patriarchy and religion where dishonest male leaders and scholars misinterpret the Scriptures just to keep power and trample upon the rights and dignity of women.

No civilized society should deny and obstruct the right of women to rise and participate in their society.

 

By voting for women we enhance national development and democracy. This is because as we make women speak to issues that affect them, then it means we will touch each and every issue of our society and life. Female parliamentarians are more likely to highlight, defend and address family life issues in the parliament. For this reason, let us vote for the women candidates and then monitor them to make sure they deliver and remain faithful to the concerns of the woman, the family and the entire society.