News / Africa

Senegal Moves to Solidify Gender Equality

(First row R-L) National Assembly's president Mamadou Seck, Minister of the Connectivity Alassane Dialy Ndiaye, State Minister Mamadou Diop de Croix, Environment Minister Djibo Leyti Ka, (Second row R-L) Minister for Family and women's organizations Aïda (First row R-L) National Assembly's president Mamadou Seck, Minister of the Connectivity Alassane Dialy Ndiaye, State Minister Mamadou Diop de Croix, Environment Minister Djibo Leyti Ka, (Second row R-L) Minister for Family and women's organizations Aïda
x
(First row R-L) National Assembly's president Mamadou Seck, Minister of the Connectivity Alassane Dialy Ndiaye, State Minister Mamadou Diop de Croix, Environment Minister Djibo Leyti Ka, (Second row R-L) Minister for Family and women's organizations Aïda
(First row R-L) National Assembly's president Mamadou Seck, Minister of the Connectivity Alassane Dialy Ndiaye, State Minister Mamadou Diop de Croix, Environment Minister Djibo Leyti Ka, (Second row R-L) Minister for Family and women's organizations Aïda
Nancy Palus
DAKAR – On July 30, Senegal inaugurates its first national assembly since the passage of a gender parity law two years ago. Experts say much is at stake, both for restoring people’s faith in the much-maligned body and for solidifying gender equality. 
 
The fact that 65 of the 150 newly elected representatives are women is a big step forward, but women are quick to say it is just a first step. Gender experts and activists in Dakar say much is riding on their effectiveness as parliamentarians.
 
Safiétou Diop, president of the civil society coalition Reseau Siggil Jigeen, or “network to advance women” in the local Wolof language, says there are still pockets of resistance to gender equality in decision-making positions.  But this is no time for backtracking, she says. According to Diop, the women in the new national assembly must safeguard the gains they have made by standing together and being effective representatives.
 
Just more than half of Senegal’s 12.5 million population is female. The 2010 gender parity law requires political parties to ensure that at least half their candidates in local and national elections are women.
 
Diop says a critical next step in solidifying this advancement for women is to ensure gender equality in committees within the national assembly.
 
Standing committees include health and education - areas where women say they are determined to see that government spending translates into real benefits for the general population. Women activists and new parliamentarians say improving people’s living conditions is paramount: better access to health care, better sanitation, and increased youth and female employment.
 
Historically women in Senegal have known how to collaborate to improve conditions in their communities, Diop says, citing women-led cooperatives that have deep roots in Senegalese society. Female lawmakers bring this women’s perspective, this women’s vision when they study pending legislation or pending government expenditures.
 
About 36% of eligible voters in Senegal came out for the July 1 legislative election. The low turnout is widely seen as a reflection of people’s disdain for the body; many Senegalese tell VOA members seem to be out for personal or party interests, not there to truly represent the people.
 
Awa Niang, a newly-elected representative for the department of Pikine, says women are determined to change that, and are well-placed to do so.
 
"We must represent our communities at the national assembly," she says, "and we are determined to stand by the people’s side and take into account the realities they live every day." Niang adds that  "women naturally tend to stand together and we will put the force of this solidarity behind actions that will foster development and better conditions for the people."
 
The new national assembly, whose members serve five-year terms, is scheduled to take office on July 30.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid