By Sanna Camara
All stakeholders in the public, private and civil society, and in particular political parties and voters have been urged to support the nomination and election of women candidates in the April 4th local government elections.
The association of NGOs in The Gambia (TANGO) has made this call as the election campaign activities reach its peak, arguing that with more women leaders in representative institutions, the political discourse and the quality of democracy and governance in the country further improves as many more players, issues and interests are represented and discussed.
TANGO said The Gambia already falls short of international standards in ensuring the participation and representation of women in power and decision-making processes and institutions.
“Of the 53 elected and nominated members of the National Assembly, women constitute 7.5% (with only 4.2% being elected and 40% nominated). In the current Local Councils, women constitute 13.2% of the 114 elected councils, while the positions for governors, mayors, chiefs and alkalolu are overwhelmingly male dominated except for Deputy Governors where there exists only one woman,” a statement released by the office said.
The statement continued: “The need for many more women leaders in positions of power and decision making is urgent given the continued discrimination and violence meted out to our girls and women as a result of the patriarchal nature of our society which underlies the socio-economic and political structure that inhibits women’s quality political participation and representation in the Gambia.
Consequently, it adds, “our womenfolk continue to form the majority of the poor, unskilled, illiterate, sick and disadvantaged in our homes across the society. By giving women the space to participate in decision-making processes where policy, resources and programs are decided, we will be setting high standards and the creation of a level playing field which would encourage open and direct discussions of the needs and interests of girls and women.