The UNICEF Resident Representative in The Gambia has said that significant progress has been made towards gender equality in Gambia in the past 15 years.
Sara Beysolow Nyanti was speaking recently during the commemoration of ‘World’s Largest Lesson’, held at The Gambia Senior Secondary School. The event was organised by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.
“This year the theme focused on SDG 5, “Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. The new global goals agenda presents a universal development agenda in which children and adolescents are at the forefront, thus the Lesson provides an opportunity for them to learn more about the global goals and its impact in their lives, communities and countries, and the lives of other children,” she stated.
The UNICEF Rep noted that gender equality is about both boys and girls, men and women accessing the same rights and opportunities. “It’s about ending all forms of discrimination, violence and exploitation against women and girls as well as recognising and valuing their work and contributions at home and to societies while providing them the opportunities to participate meaningfully in political, economic and public spheres,” she added.
Highlighting the progress made by The Gambia towards gender equality, Madam Nyanti said more women are now in management and decision making positions.
Education, she went on, plays a significant role in preventing gender inequality and thus called for the recognition and support for people with special needs at homes and communities.
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Baboucarr Bouye, said the lessons are aimed at capturing the attention and inspiring the enthusiasm of millions of students in classrooms around the world.
“Lessons from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have helped in motivating world leaders to come up with the Sustainable Development Goals in order to mobilise efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind”, he said.
PS Bouye noted that SDG 5 is aimed at ending all forms of discrimination and violence against all women and girls everywhere, eliminating harmful practices and recognising value of unpaid care.
“It further advocates for women’s active participation and equal opportunities in all spheres of life and universal access to sexual and reproductive health, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property,” he added.
He pointed out the need to adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels, stressing that equality in education helps in maintaining equal representation in society.
“Although there have been huge improvements in enrollment for girls and boys at primary level through the MDGs, there is still a gender gap in favour of boys with regards to secondary education.”
Achieving sustainable development he went on, calls for concerted efforts for the well-being of individuals and societies and that all stakeholders are expected to contribute to the realisation of the new agenda.
PS Bouy encouraged students to play an active part in the promotion and achievement of the goals by taking advantage of the opportunities created for them, as well as demand for policies and programmes that will accelerate the achievements of these goals.
by Fatou Gassama