The president made the pledge while outlining the incremental steps that his government is undertaking to advance women issues during a meeting with lady councilors at the State House. He was visibly elated interfacing directly with grassroots women representatives from across the country.
“My government is ready, through policies and programmes, to empower women”, President Barrow told the delegation. ‘‘The rules of the game have changed, and so is the narrative for my government. The establishment of the Ministry of Women and appointing key gender advocates to lead it, along with that of agriculture speaks to our priorities as government”.
Having two women in the Cabinet as ministers, couple with a woman as Vice President, he noted, will greatly contribute to the women empowerment agenda of the NDP. President Barrow urged them to exercise patience while his government rolls out programmes that will deliver sustainable solutions to challenges confronting women in the various regions of the country.
Furthermore, the president stressed that come next fiscal year, women issues will command special attention in government’s budgetary plans. “I assure that my office will give full support to any Cabinet Paper emanating from your Ministry. Whatever we do not provide for you, know that the issue is beyond our means,” President Barrow said.
The Vice President of the Republic, Her Excellency, Dr Isatou Touray said unlike the past, under the current administration, women have attained a voice to speak on issues that affect their lives.
“The policy drive of government today is to take women in directions we have been fighting and crying for in the past 35 years. The President believes in women and our potential to be of force for good for this country,” she said.
Various speakers at the event recount the challenges they face in their daily lives: from domestic issues to obstacles in accessing to farmlands or market for their produces, among others.
Ms Binta Gassama, Executive Director of the Women’s Bureau said the establishment of a Women’s Fund and a Ministry dedicated to women issues confirms the prioritization of women issues by the president. She informed the delegates that modalities are being finalised to kick start the operationalisation of the said fund, in addition to the National Entrepreneurship Fund for the benefit of women.
She described women issues as an enabling agent that is at the centre of various sectors such as health, agriculture and education as captured in the NDP. The Minister of Women and Children Affairs said the Cabinet papers for the said Funds, along with other programmes are being finalized for presentation to Cabinet.
Director of Press & Public Relations
Office of the President, State House, Banjul