By Halimatou Ceesay
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubacarr M. Tambadou on Monday 22nd June, 2020 tabled Bills before the National Assembly geared towards protecting the Rights and Dignities of women, for Consideration and Ratification.
Honourable Tambadou stating the objectives and reasons behind the Bills said, “It is the first of its kind in Africa for being the trailblazer for the recognition, observance and domestication of international Obligations and Commitments relating to Women’s Right into Domestic Law.”
He said since the enactment of the Women’s Act 2010, significant strides have been made to enforce the law and to protect women in line with the provisions of the Act. He said section 25 of the Women’s Act recognized the need for periodic review of legislation every ten years to ensure further compliance with International Obligations as enshrined in the convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Right.
He added that, the proposals seek to review and amend the provisions of the act that are discriminatory to Women and Girls as mandated by section 25 of the Women’s Act.
Among the Bills tendered before the August Assembly were the following:
Domestic Violence Amendment Bill: The Bill seeks to amend in Subsection (2) of section 36 of the Principal Act by inserting a new paragraph which will ensure that the rights of complainants are not prejudiced by an out of court settlement;
Skin Bleaching Prohibition Repeal Bill: The Bill seeks to repeal the Skin Bleaching Prohibition Act, as it is deemed to be discriminatory against women and Girls in the Gambia in furtherance of the Gambia’s International Obligations and in line with the Constitution;
Married Women’s Property Amendment Bills: The Bill seeks to review and amend the provisions of the married Women’s Property Act found to be discriminatory against women and girls in the Gambia;
Matrimonial Causes Amendment Bill: The Bill seeks to review and amend the Provisions of the Matrimonial Causes Act found to be discriminatory against Women and Girls;
Labour Amendment Bill: The Bill seeks to repeal and replaces Section 71 which states that “every woman is entitled to a period of six months maternity leave with pay or with comparable benefits without loss of employment, seniority or similar benefits”. It goes on to state that, “every father is entitled to a reasonable period of time not exceeding 10 working days as paternity leave with pay”;
Forced Labour Amendment Bill: The Bill seeks to amend by inserting a new section 7A which states that “a woman shall not be subjected to any labour during pregnancy, that is hazardous to her health or likely to affect her reproductive health and that a child should not be exposed to any labour that is hazardous to her health and safety”;
Basic and Secondary Education Amendment Bill: The Bill seeks to review and repeal the provisions of the Basic and Secondary Education Act found to be discriminatory against Women and Girls in the Gambia; and
Women’s Amendment Bill: The Bill seeks to amend Section 15 and a new subsection (2) states that it shall be mandatory for every Public Institution , authority or state owned enterprise to ensure that, for political and public offices, a minimum of 30% of all offices, positions and appointments are reserved for women. For Educational placement and school enrolment award of scholarships, bursaries and such other allocations, a minimum of 50% is reserved for women among eligible candidates. In all other case, a minimum of 30% is reserved for women.