Women and Vulnerable Groups
A critical policy and practice of the United Democratic Party is to advance cause and place of women in Gambian society. In so doing, women are an integral part of the decision-making processes and central to party activities. The UDP firmly believes that the starting point of addressing the women’s issue is to attack under represented poverty, and education.
Since the inception of the UDP, women have been fully represented at the Executive level and as officials of various women’s committees. At the national level and local level, we sincerely believe that women should be fully involved in not only the political decision-making processes but also the management and running of national affairs. There is serious need for more women’s representation in the national parliament and in local councils.
Women make up the majority of the Gambia’s poor. The prevalence of female headed households, low income, and their limited access to the wealth of the nation all contribute to keep women in serious economic difficulties. In addition, the Gambian women have less access to education and to formal sector employment. As a result, the UDP strives to;
Bridge the earnings between men and women by instituting “equal pay for equal task” and break down barriers that impedes women to get higher paying jobs by providing educational and formal employment opportunities in private and public agencies.
The UDP believes that it is necessary to review legislations and customs and traditions that prohibits women from owning landed properties or sign financial contracts without a husband’s signature. The ineligibility of women to access credit and training should also be reviewed.
The UDP also feels that review government employment or income enhancing programs to be made more accessible to women thus reducing existing income disparities between men and women. Programs to alleviate poverty increase training programs urban areas to increase earning potential and formal sector employment for women’s produce such as vegetable plots are being encouraged through the Women’s Wing.
The UDP to integrate women in development programs. This entails increasing the rate of female participation in educational and training programs, formal and informal sector employment and agricultural extension programs. It is also of primary importance that precautions be taken to ensure that women have equal access to government resources (schooling, social and health services, employment and social security).
The aim is to address the consequences of the decline in women’s relative or absolute economic status which has both ethical and long term economic implications. We are of the view that any process of growth that fails to improve the welfare of the people experiencing the greatest hardship, can result not only in the disempowerment of women, but also fails to accomplish one of the principal goals of development. Hence, the UDP will do everything in its power to ameliorate the status of women.
It is important to note that apart from the positions reserved ex-officio for women on UDP National Executive – National Chairperson Women’s Wing, Secretary Women’s Wing, President Female Youth Wing and Secretary Female Youth Wing, the post of Secretary for Legal and Human Rights Matters is held by a woman. This position, which is fourth in the hierarchy of officials, is held by a professional lady. Out of a total membership of twenty-five on National Executive, ten are females.