FOSTERING WOMEN’S POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AND REPRESENTATION IN THE GAMBIA

Posted April 22, 2022

Fatou Jallow (APRC) and Fatou Sallah (PDOIS) Women’s Branch Inter-Party Committee (WOBIPC) Co-chairpersons

The Women’s Branch of the Inter-Party Committee (WOBIPC) was established on 16 October 2021 to increase  women’s participation and representation in national and local politics. As co-chairs, our focus is to sensitize and encourage women to get involved in politics and to vote for their counterparts irrespective of our political differences. We also encourage men to vote for women. Since independence, women  are often used as mobilizers,  cooking and cheering during political engagements. However, since the establishment of  WOBIPC, we have seen some progress towards the inclusion of women in strategic spaces such as political debates and in decision making, a transformation we intend to keep promoting. The Gambia has a total of 962,157 voters, including 545,318 women (56.68%) and 416,839 men (43.32%). The percentage of young (18-35) voters stands at 57.71% (555220), highlighting the importance of these two demographic groups in deciding the outcome of the presidential election. Before the The Gambia 2022 National Assembly elections, we went on a nation-wide tour to sensitize and encourage citizens to vote for women, inform them of its importance and highlighting that women are key actors for development. An increased representation of women in Parliament will contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. Moving forward and in collaboration with the IPC and partners, we intend to continue the advocacy during elections and beyond for people to understand the seriousness and value of women leadership. Key decision-making positions in political parties are usually given to men but we are calling out on all party leaders and members as well as CSOs leaders, community leaders and influencers to consider women and give them key leadership positions. We believe that when this is done, there will be transformative change, and this will encourage more women to participate in politics.