The campaign against the elimination of harmful traditional practices that hinder the growth, health and rights of women and girls is gaining momentum. We add our voice to the campaign with a firm call for an end to all forms of violence and discrimination against the girl child.
Women are an integral part of society. Without them, the advancement of society will only be wishful thinking. This is because it is the combination of men and women working together in unison and harmony that produces societal growth and development. Neither men nor women alone can by themselves achieve any meaningful socio-economic transformation.
Violence and discrimination of one sex hinders the march towards development, and is a crime against humanity. Now that human society has advanced greatly, it is important for the people to commit themselves to ensure that the societal patriarchy that has relegated women for so long to the back seat is eliminated.
There should be a policy that will criminalise violence against women and provide stiff penalties for offenders to serve as a catalyst to achieving gender equity in national development. Such a policy will give women confidence to participate in the development process as they will be assured that their rights and demands are fully guaranteed by the state.
The challenge now lies in the hands of the entire citizenry to build a Gambia that provides a level playing field for both men and women to harness and utilise their potentials in nation building.
As the saying goes "whoever empowers a woman empowers a nation". We therefore have to rise to the challenge to be part of those people who empower a nation. The girl child deserves all the conditions necessary to permit her to excel in society; any denial of such conditions tantamount to the denial of social progress.