The Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of The Republic of The Gambia, Hon. Seedy SK Njie is among over 1000 delegates and 60 Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Parliaments across the world to the 145th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly that opened on Tuesday in Kigali, Rwanda.

The head of Gambian delegation is taking part in the weeklong event together with hounarables Kebba Jallow of Jarra Central, Fatou Cham of Sanimentereng, Assan Touray of Bakau, and Musa Cham of Serrekunda.

During the course of the week, delegates will take part in a series of events on the theme:‘gender equality and gender-sensitive parliaments as drivers of change for a more resilient and peaceful world’.

Delivering his address before the IPU Assembly on Wednesday, Hon. Seedy SK Njie refers to this theme as a ‘simmering topic of discussion in recent years by all actors in the democratic decision-making processes’.
He acknowledged that gender-sensitive parliament is in effect a recipe for gender equality and that it is essentially in the best interest of a genuine and inclusive democracy.

The Gambian lawmaker observed that the responsibility of advocating gender equality being rested entirely on few Women and organisations over the year, noting that, it is encouraging that decisions are being taken to shift such a responsibility to parliaments as institutions representing the diverse interests of all citizens.
“There is a glimmer of hope in the drive to promoting gender-sensitive parliaments as many parliamentary institutions around the world are moving away from their traditional male-dominated membership towards advocating for more gender equality”, Hon. Njie noted.

The deputy speaker further enjoined the IPU to provide an excellent opportunity for their community of National Parliaments to come together to strengthen parliamentary efforts to drive change and address global issues by reaching agreements and consensus on legal frameworks, policies and actions encompassing the theme of this year’s general assembly.

He assured The Gambia’s staunch advocacy in championing gender equality and women empowerment, having ratified and domesticated most regional and international conventions relating to women.

“The Gambia also passed into law a Women’s Act in 2010 and its amendment 2015, the Domestic Violence Act 2013 and the Sexual Offences Act 2013. A new National Gender policy 2023 -2033 is being formulated to succeed the 2010- 2020 Policy on Gender and Women Empowerment by the government through the Ministry of Gender in consultation with relevant stakeholders which aims at ensuring inclusion of women and demystifying the negative perception against them.”

He also noted that the government, for the first time, has established a Directorate of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment under the newly established Ministry of Gender as an additional testimony of its commitment to gender mainstreaming.

Among the ongoing gender related developments, the Gambia’s Deputy Speaker pointed out that a new National Gender Mainstreaming Strategy Bill has been formulated and would be tabled before the National Assembly for enactment.

As he explained, the Ministry of Gender would work with all sectors to mainstream gender in national policies and programmes with the overall objective of ensuring gender programming and budgeting.

Hon. Njie used the opportunity to call on the IPU to provide the necessary tools to support parliaments in assessing and Monitoring gender-sensitivity in terms of their organisation and working procedures.