Panafrican News Agency

Gambia’s Vice President says gender equality 'essential pillar for progress'

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - Gambian Vice President Muhammad B.S. Jallow said on Tuesday that gender equality stands as an essential pillar for the progress and prosperity of any nation. 

“As a government, we firmly believe that when women and girls are empowered, their voices are uplifted, and their rights are protected, the benefits reverberate throughout society," he said.

"By embracing gender equality, we unlock a world of infinite possibilities, where the potential of every citizen, regardless of gender, is realized,” he said in the statement on the occasion of World Population Day.

Mr. Jallow said this year's theme, "Unleashing the Power of Gender Equality: Uplifting the Voices of Women and Girls to Unlock Our World's Infinite Possibilities," resonates deeply with the nation's commitment to achieving a more inclusive and equitable society. 

He noted that the theme emphasised the pivotal role that gender equality plays in unleashing the full potential of the nation and its people. 

Mr. Jallow pointed out that over the years, Gambia had made significant strides in advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls. 

According to him, the Gambian government had implemented structural, policy, and programmatic initiatives including the establishment of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare in 2019, with a special unit called the Directorate of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, a clear sign of Gambian’s dedication to promoting and safeguarding the rights of women and girls. 

“We have also taken decisive actions to reform laws, ensuring that women have equal access to justice, protection, and opportunities. The Gambian government has promulgated several laws such as the Women's Act, Domestic Violence Act, and the Sexual Offences Act, among others, which provide legal protection against discrimination, violence, and harmful traditional practices and ensures that women have equal access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities. We have also criminalised female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage,” Mr. Jallow said.

He added that the government has also implemented policies and programmes aimed at empowering women and girls, ensuring their access to quality education, healthcare, and economic opportunities.

"Subsequently, we have made remarkable strides in improving the health and education of women and girls. We have witnessed an increase in access to quality healthcare, including reproductive health services, maternal care, and family planning.”

He said women and girls were "breaking glass ceilings", excelling in fields previously dominated by men, and contributing positively to our nation's development.

-0- PANA MSS/MA 11July2023