The Gambia norm and culture Vis-à-vis women and girls matriarchal/patriarchal Society
Opinion Piece by The Late Rev. Dr. John Loum
Let me be clear, conceptually, nature has it understandably that women and men are equal in every way shape, or form. Sadly, in Gambia's patriarchal society the trend has been and continued with women and girls' roles has been structurally at home and society largely defined by men. Given that, the men who are the dominant power player, functionally codified the trend, on how women/girls were to operate. At home domestically, also matrimonially as in society extending to their workplaces [ office], etc.
For example, I grew up in Gambia where women and girls were not given equal opportunities as boys in gaining any education, unfairly the boys would be in the streets enjoying leisurely their time playing football, and building networks of friendships and groups, in Banjul area boys would go for swinging around the beach or playing at McCarthy square.
Cultural Barriers Limiting Women and Girls
The barrier of institutionalizing Gambian women and girls as second class or socialize domesticated spices who are to be seen as unequaled equal is dismally incrementally changing much still needs to be done. As a trend or norm must be long past gone. All forms of these institutionalized patterns of cultural norms have fizzled out gradually or obliterated.
Solutions for Women and Girls’ Inclusion
Then as we are developing strategies towards remedies and solutions, first global modernity will force on our women, or they will be left in the wind. Second women should have in place a constructive structure on the grass-root level in empowering and creating gender awareness. Along with that the goal should be re-educating and defusing much of the old ways, including cultural norms which could either be a stumbling block or an inhibition in the way of women's dignity, equal acceptance, and gender fair treatment in all spheres of human space and life.
Our Time is Now, Our rights, Our future: International Day of The girl Child 2022
The International Day of the Girl Child 2022. SaGG Foundation joins the rest of the world to observe the day, celebrated every year on October 11th.
This year marks the 10th anniversary since the declaration by the United Nations. The purpose of the observance of the day of the girl child, is to create global awareness in all areas that affect the lives of girls. Even though significant progress has been made over the years in raising awareness and enacting laws to promote gender equality. That noted, girls continue to face inequality in all areas of society, notably discrimination in education, access to medical health, proper nutrition, child labour, and protection against sexual and gender-based violence.
The celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child has led to the emergence of global, regional, and community voices of girls and young female leaders who passionately campaign for progressive laws, programmes, and policies to defend and uphold the rights of the girl child. Hence, the theme for this year aptly reflects, that Our Time is Now, our rights, our future.
The SaGG Foundation girls are pleased to share with you, why their time is Now! Read the poems and essays to find out more.
Poem by Jestina
Poem by Fatou
Poem by Arret
Poem by Elizabeth
Essay by Barakatou
Investments in girls' education and rights remain limited, and girls continue to confront a myriad of challenges to fulfilling their potential, made worse by the concurrent crises of climate change, COVID-19, and humanitarian conflict. Girls around the world continue to face unprecedented challenges to their education, their physical and mental wellness, and the protection needed for a life without violence.
With adversity, however, comes resourcefulness, creativity, tenacity, and resilience. The world's 600 million girls have shown that, given the skills and the opportunities, they can be the change makers driving progress in their communities, building a stronger future for all, including women, boys, and men.
International Day of the Girl Child arrives this year at an important and evolving moment in time, as girls' rights and gender equality are resurging in the public consciousness and dialogue in new, powerful, and long-overdue ways.
While attention and conversation are welcome, at the same time, girls and women everywhere continue to endure significant challenges. A range of legal, social, health, and safety challenges and their consequences, while often not widely recognized or understood, nonetheless have a highly and highly negative impact on girls and women, their families, and communities. Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are still a leading cause of death among girls in developing countries.
According to recent statistics, 131 million girls are not in school. Globally, women perform 2.6 times more unpaid care and domestic work than men. Globally, about one in three women has experienced violence. And 214 million women have an unmet need for modern contraception.
While these trends may seem overwhelming, they don’t have to be permanent. Inequality, discrimination, and injustice sustain these problems; rights, empowerment, and better social norms can fix them.
Under the theme, "Our Time is Now, Our Rights, Our Future: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives,” UN Women is urging the global community “to transform the momentum into action, to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and to celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential.
Addressing the rights and needs of girls and women everywhere has always been and will continue to be a key part of our work because it is a human rights imperative.
When a girl is safe, healthy, educated, and empowered, she creates the future she wants and a ripple effect, advancing healthier and more prosperous communities, societies, and economies.
Peom by Bertha
Artwork by Fatoumata
Poem by Fatima
Poem by Michelle
Essay by Fatou
There was a time when society thought that it was not necessary to educate girls. During earlier times, there was a distinct division between public and private life. Women were not allowed in the public sphere because they were not meant to take part in it. Since historic times, girls have been the subject of neglect, torture, and other horrific activities that cannot be ignored. Now we have begun to realize that girls’ education is essential. The modern age is the age of the awakening of women.
Education for girls is important for bringing a balance to society.
Our time is now! Girls' education has brought equality in society by bridging the gap of gender inequality.
Education can make girls self-reliant, which society used to think was a burden. Female education is the overarching term of a complex set of issues and debates surrounding education (primary, secondary, tertiary, university, and health education in particular) for girls and women. The education of women and girls is an important connection to the alleviation of poverty. Improving girls’ educational levels has been demonstrated to have clear impacts on the health and economic future of young women, which in turn improves the prospects of their entire community.
Therefore, our right to education is a must and should be valued by every society, no matter what ethnic group we might find ourselves in. Educating a girl helps her to share the responsibility of her family and reduces the burden of the head of the family, and can also help uproot social ills, such as early child marriage, honor killing, dowry payment, domestic violence, child labour and female genital mutilation.
Educated women are less likely to become victims of such improper acts. An educated woman always receives dignity and respect and remains a source of inspiration for other women and girls.
Most importantly, our future is bright with education. It improves the overall quality of a girl’s life with critical thinking and enhances learning. Subsequently, it helps a child make a better and more informed decision with the use of their knowledge. Female education is the need of the hour. With that being said, it also gives career opportunities that can increase the quality of life. However, education remains a luxury and not a necessity in our country.
In conclusion, educating the girl child is very important for the development of a nation. In The Gambia, half of the population is made up of women. We cannot prosper by ignoring this half of the population because female education is essential for the betterment of our country. Not only can a woman do everything that a man can, but also, if we become educated, we can participate in all kinds of work, and by doing this, a nation can prosper. Every society should learn to respect girls and women first because this is "Our Time, our rights, our future."
Your Feeback is welcomed
Thank you for visiting our blog site and for reading the poems and essays written by our girls. We hope you have been inspired and enlightened about why girls should be empowered to claim their rights. Girls' rights should be everyone's business.
Our girls would appreciate hearing from you. Use the comments section below to share your feedback, reviews, and reactions. We want to hear from you. Thank you!
Follow our socials for daily updates
The SaGG Foundation (Sponsor a Gambian Girl) is a girl’s education movement, with aim of championing the cause for girl child education in The Gambia. Education is a basic human right; our vision is to advocate and champion for girls' education.