Gambian women move to demand 16 reserved seats in parliament
Women across different industries in the Gambia have met to validate a draft bill that seeks 16 reserved seats for women at the National Assembly, which if approved, will make 71 seats at the parliament.
Although representation of women in Gambian politics has slightly increased, representation remains low ( as of 2017 only 8.62% of MPs are women). Women represent more than half of the country’s population and 58% of all registered Gambian voters.
The objective behind the process is for the Gambian government to uphold its international obligation to implement through legislation, the commitments enshrined in both the CEDAW and the Maputo Protocols, in ensuring that women enjoy genuine de facto equality with men at all levels of decision making, including representation at the National Assembly. The bill has six clauses that seek to increase the composition of the National Assembly to cater for reserved seats for women and persons with disabilities, as well seek to impose an obligation on all political parties to promote gender equality in the selection of candidates to contest for National Assembly elections.
National Assembly member, Fatoumatta K Jawara has also asked support to help educate parliament on the role of women in the 2021 amendment bill on the nation’s constitution.