Phylicia Rashad once said that any time women come together with a collective intention, it’s a powerful thing. Whether it’s sitting down making a quilt, in a kitchen preparing a meal, in a club reading the same book, or around the table playing cards, or planning a birthday party, when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens.
Therefore, empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies and in achieving internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability.
Over the last two decades, Gambian women have been appointed to leadership and decision-making positions and this in return has contributed positively to the socio-economic development of the country. From the Vice President to Cabinet Ministers, Speaker of our National Assembly to the position of a Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Gambian women have proven that when given the opportunity, they can perform even better than men.
Today, The Gambia can raise its hands high up to brag that women empowerment has reached an unprecedented level across all sectors to the point that it shocked few when a set of referees made up of four women officiated a men’s Super Nawettan football match for the first time in our history in a game between Brikama and Manjai Kunda at the Independence Stadium in Bakau.
The performance of these referees, led by Isatou Touray, an immigration officer, was flawless that the quintet earned a lot of praises from the fans and the VIP section of the Independence Stadium.
The decision by our football authorities to assign women to officiate men’s football games is apt as it is in line with our national football development plan. The panel of referees also justified their selection by refusing to be intimated by the antics of the players and the estimated 10,000 spectators that watched this match.
As we congratulate these women referees for this feat they’ve achieved, we hope and pray that Gambia would produce many Papa Gassamas in both men and women refereeing in the not too distant future.