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The office of the President has issued a directive that with effect from 31st December, 2015, all female staff in the government ministries, Departments and agencies are no longer allowed to expose their head during official working hours and that female staff are urged to use head tie and neatly wrap their hair.

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Gambia's parliament has passed a bill banning female genital mutilation and setting strict penalties for offenders, a month after the president condemned the practice..

A person who engages in female circumcision could face up to three years in prison or a fine of 50,000 Dalasi.

If the act results in death, a person could face life imprisonment, according to the bill which parliament passed on Monday.

FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM) BANNED IN THE GAMBIA..!!!

I've always seen FGM as a cruel traditional practice that has no health benefits whatsoever for girls and women. Not only can it cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, it can also cause cyst, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth. It simply is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

As a victim myself, I don't wish this horrible experience for any other female. You can't imagine the excruciating pain of FGM, especially Type 3. In this type of circumcision, the clitoris is removed followed by infibulation, a process in which the urethra is covered to act as a physical barrier for intercourse. The woman has to undergo the process of defibulation followed by intercourse within a couple of days or the scar tissue will cover up the urethra again.

This new development in my beloved country, The Gambia, brings me joy and I hope and pray that other practicing countries will also follow suit. 

Every woman gets to the "I SHOULD BE MARRIED BY NOW STAGE." Are you there yet? Has anyone asked you this question; "WHY AREN'T YOU MARRIED? How did you respond? Did the question have any impact on you or your lifestyle as a single woman?

Now let me narrow it down. How does the Gambian woman feel about marriage? Does she venture in it because she found her better half, or is it because she feels the clock ticking?

My reason for writing this piece is that I recently did a research about a "Woman's drive for marriage." Some might find this topic silly and irrelevant, but I find it really interesting, especially after having a discussion with a diverse group of women. Their responses were mostly influenced by where they came from. I was left curious and I tried answering the questions from my own perspective.

How does these questions apply to the Gambian woman? Do we settle for the right reasons or is because of the harsh realization that we are getting to the highest peak of life as a single woman? Hmmmmm...

In any group (especially women's group), sharing information and relaying past experiences are very powerful ways of making positive changes.

It is generally agreed that your own experiences teach you more and help you arrest situations when they reoccur. But I strongly believe that listening to another person's past experience has great effects as well.

When women share and discuss topics , they feel more at ease and give out their unique ideas. If a group is centered on leadership, most of its members tend to listen more rather than participate in discussions.

Now don't get me wrong. Every group needs a leader to represent them. But what I encourage is that, all leaders should see themselves as just members when they meet as a group.

Let us all be managers in this community. Lets motivate each other by sharing ideas and respecting each others opinions. You'll be amazed at how effective this approach will be.
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