Women first, mothers foremost we are the linchpins of the family
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Antoinette Corr-Jack, the general secretary of the Gambia Teachers' Union (GTU), said women are first, mothers foremost as they are the linchpin, the needle and thread that hold the family together.
She made this statement on Friday at the Gambia Teachers' Union Women's Wing (GTUWW) National Women's Meeting held at the Paradise Suites Hotel, Kololi. According to her, they cook the food, darn the clothes, bathe the children, pay the school fees and go to PTA meetings. Noting, when the children pass their exams, the husband beats his chest and claims the success. With success, the obvious question that is asked by all and sundry is this: "Kanai Yaayam". "We are celebrating the strength, the courage and the contributions of women in the education sector", she stated.
She added that, they know the critical role that women play in the progress of their societies though their effort are sometimes invisible in the larger world, they are often real agents of change in society struggling daily to feed and educate their children and improve the lives of people in their communities ensuring that the next generation will have a better future.
"I am proud to be a woman today, our light will shine on the important contributions women have made in the education sector. Throughout the world today, women are increasingly agents of change, arbiters of peace, advocates of education and health, women are advancing opportunities not only for themselves, but for their families and their communities", she disclosed.
Mrs Jack further said, these are historic times as growing numbers of women are actively engaging in political process and assuming leadership roles. She said, this is a great time of hope and progress, yet they must also recognise that they still have a lot of work to do. In too many places women still struggle for basic rights and liberties and face the treat of or discrimination, exploitation.
Nothing is more important for development today than the economic and social participation of women. "We have made noble progress for positive change, but we are still faced with critical challenges that still need to be address. Women remain underrepresented in politics and decision-making. When women are accorded their basic rights they flourish so do their children, families and communities", Mrs Jack noted. According to her, the stereotype on women reflected the typical "women" carrying a baby on her back, a jug of water on her head, or stooped down with a hoe tending the farm, better yet, staying at home doing domestic chores. Societal norms prevailed chauvinism in the psyche of women, and this has been the norm since time immemorial such that women are subservient and succumb to all kinds of manipulation, abuse and control.
Today, she said, with the emancipation of women, and the era of enlightenment in the 21st century, the re-orientation of women focuses on the weaknesses purported to be the failings of women and turning those same weaknesses into strengths. She called on the gentleman to be ready to partner with them as they make their own choices, raise their own voices and find their own way to a brighter and more hopeful future for themselves and their country. Noting, they have much less hope of addressing the complex challenges they face in this century without the full participation of women.
Janet A. Mansal, the desk officer of GTUWW, disclosed that, while the whole world is giving special attention to the promotion of women and girls in education the leadership of this great organisation could not but committed itself by putting in place a support structure in 1994 that would make female teachers more assertive and outspoken on matters that affect their lives and status. This they believe will enhance the image of the whole organisation.
According to Mansal, a caucus is the highest decision making body by the GTUWW and it takes place every 5years during the national delegates congress of GTU. She further said, this forum accords delegates a unique opportunity to project the image of the wing and come up with sound proposals that would shape the future of the organisation.
During the caucus, delegates reviewed the activities of the wing from 2004 - 2009, discuss and adopt the desk officer and treasurer's report, ratify the GTUWW Byelaws and adopt some resolutions and democratically elect their leaders. For her part, Nyima A Jallow, the treasurer's of GTUWW, thanked the union for the pastoral support they continue to enjoy and expressed hope that the incoming National Executive Council (NEC) will review the usual support further for greater performance.
Author: Mariatou Ngum-Saidy