Gender Equality in the Gambia

Topics: Gender, Gender role, Gender studies Pages: 19 (7207 words) Published: January 27, 2013
The perception of the concept of gender equality is not properly understood in both sexes throughout The Gambia. OBJECTIVE
The objective of this research work is based on three things: * To bring to light the proper concept of gender equality. * To ascertain if there is any possibility of total gender equality in all works of life in The Gambia. * To find out the stand of both religions i.e. Islam and Christianity on the subject matter of gender equality.

The importance of this research on Gender equality cannot be over emphasize, for the simple reason that gender equality has become a litigious issue in religion, politics, economic and social platform, all four platforms have divergent views on the subject matter.

Under the 1997 Constitution, women in the Gambia are accorded equal rights with men. Yet gender activists believed that there is still inequality between the sexes in The Gambia, largely because of the patriarchal nature of Gambian society reinforces traditional roles of women. In The Gambia, there is a dual legal system that combines civil law (inspired by the British system) and Islamic Sharia. Family Code: The laws recognise four forms of marriage: Christian, civil, customary and Mohommedan (which are governed by Sharia). The 1997 Constitution states that all marriages shall be based on the free and full consent of the intended parties, except under customary law which still supports the tradition of child betrothal. More than 90 per cent of Gambian women are governed by customary and Sharia law vis-à-vis their family relationships. The Gambia has no minimum legal age for marriage and. Polygamy is permissible in Gambian society and is practiced; Men may take up to four wives. Wives whose husbands enter a second or subsequent marriage have the option to divorce. In the Gambia husbands are considered to be the natural head of the family; as such, they have sole responsibility for matters concerning the raising of children, albeit consent of women are seek occasionally. Women’s rights with regard to inheritance depend on the law applied. Sharia provides for detailed and complex calculations of inheritance shares, whereby women may inherit from their father, mother, husband or children and, under certain conditions, from other family members. However, their shares are generally only half of that to which men are entitled. Christian women and female children can receive properties under the wills of their husbands or fathers, men receive the bigger share. The share of inheritance for both sexes will be discuss in detail. Physical Integrity: Gender activists believe that Protection for the physical integrity of Gambian women is weak. Violence against women, including domestic violence and abuse is rarely reported, but its occurrence is believed to be quite common. Even though wife-beating is a criminal offence (and constitutes grounds for divorce under civil law), the police typically consider such incidents to be domestic issues that lie beyond their jurisdiction. The Gambia does have laws prohibiting rape and assault, which are generally enforced. The population sex ratio in the Gambia has been stable for the past 50 years, suggesting it is not a country of concern in relation to missing women.  

Ownership Rights: Women in the Gambia have ownership rights to land, but very few have land compared to men. Concerning access to land, only a small proportion of women have titles to land property. The problem is especially acute in rural areas: traditional and cultural practices allow women to have the right to usufruct over land but, they don’t own it personally. This trend is rapidly changing as women of the Gambia are increasing owning properties in The urban areas. The law does not discriminate against women in the area of access to bank loans or credit facilities. Civil Liberties: Women in the Gambia have civil...
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