The minister of Finance and Economic Affairs has said that the need for gender disaggregated statistics has long been recognised in The Gambia, as in many African countries.
Abdou Kolley made this remark on Friday in his office, while delivering a statement on the occasion of the Africa Statistics Day, which is commemorated every year on November 18th. This year's Statistics Day was commemorated on the theme 'Making Every Woman and Man Count; Engendering Statistics For Better Development Outcomes'.
According to him, the early recognition led to the establishment of the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of the Women's Bureau; the gender focal points in key ministries and departments and the promotion of gender budgeting. He said the African Gender and Development Index developed by UNECA is a useful framework for assessing the performance of African countries in implementing policies and programmes geared towards ending women's marginalisation in Africa, as well as improve knowledge on African women's issues and concerns through wider dissemination.
Minister Kolley explained that the day is celebrated every year to increase public awareness about the important role statistics play in all aspects of social and economic life. He said the theme for this year's celebration was chosen to draw attention to the importance of gender responsive statistics in tacking gender inequalities and women's empowerment issues in all sectors of socio-economic development processes.
"It also provides an opportunity to get by-in-from policymakers on the urgent need to institutionalise the integration of gender in national statistics from the framework, methodologies and approaches for data collection, to the analysis and use of gender statistics," he further stated.
The Finance and Economic Affairs minister told the gathering that gender is the basis for analysis to assess differences in the situations of women and men and how their conditions are changing over time. Gender statistics, he further explained, raise consciousness and provide impetus for public debates and change.
He added: "It also requires for research to support development and better understanding of how gender operates in our society. Furthermore, gender statistics are needed to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of policy development. All these form the basis for developing policies to foster greater gender equality."
Minister Kolley also noted that the theme for this year's Statistics Day Commemoration is highly relevant for the upcoming population and Housing Census in The Gambia as well the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), as it provides an opportunity for the development of comprehensive gender disaggregated statistics. He remarked that the DHS likewise will provide data on women and men with respect to issues related to fertility, mortality, HIV and Aids etc. "I therefore take this opportunity to call on all Gambians and non-Gambians alike to ensure that they are enumerated and collaborate fully with the enumerators of the DHS and Census by providing them with the requisite information.
He concluded by expressing government's appreciation and thanks to the UNFPA, UNDP, UNAIDS and other partners for their invaluable partnership towards the execution of these two important national statistics enquiries. "Let me also express government's appreciation to all partners that collaborated with government in its effort towards the gender responsive statistics," he further stated, while reiterating government's commitment to the continuous development of the country's national statistics without which the desired objective and goals of its development policies and programmes will be hard to achieve.