By Yunus S Saliu
In commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), the directress of the Alliance Francaise in The Gambia has stated that Women are everyday fighters whose voice, strength, and determination deserve to be heard daily and to be carried into the public arena, at all levels of responsibilities and in conditions of perfect equality.
Justine Guschlbauer speaking at the International Women’s Day (IWD) celebration held at the Alliance Francaise premises, on Wednesday, organized by The Network of Women in The Arts in collaboration with the National Centre for Arts and Culture and Alliance Francaise, said the Alliance Française de Banjul, as a cultural and linguistic center, works actively to bring the voice of women: entrepreneurs, artists, innovators.
She, therefore, thanked the NCAC for the partnership they have, saying, “we are pleased to host a series of events at the Alliance on the occasion of International Women’s Rights Day. Amongst these events is the Women Art Fest Fair held at the Alliance until 11th March thanks to the NCAC, showcasing the work and skills of Gambian women entrepreneurs and artists.”
Madam Guschlbauer disclosed that the Alliance through the Gambia Tech project is actively working towards the 2023 theme “For an inclusive digital world: innovation and technologies for gender equality” and is hosting a special event and social network to support young female entrepreneurs. The Alliance will also offer a free screening on its premises around Women’s Rights Day.
“I, therefore, wish to commend the initiative of NCAC in launching last year the Women in the arts in the Gambia network, to raise awareness and advocate about the rights of women artists,” she added.
While thanking the people present at the celebration she explained that International Women’s Rights Day has its origins in women’s protests in the early 20th century in Europe and the United States, demanding better working conditions and the right to vote. In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March.
So, “March 8 is a day of gatherings around the world and an opportunity to take stock of the situation of women, celebrate victories and gains, make our demands heard, and improve the situation of women. It is also an opportunity to mobilise for women’s rights and their participation in political and economic life,” she expressed.
More so, she said, the United Nations defines a different theme each year, in 2023 the theme is “For an inclusive digital world: innovation and technology for gender equality”.
The Alliance Francaise director reiterated that the Alliance wants to increase its support for women artists alongside NCAC through “our actions. We are pushing toward the constitution of a culture of equality and mutual respect, which must be carried daily as there is still a long way to go. These actions must touch different areas in the professional sector through prevention and fight against sexist and sexual violence; Professional equality and economic autonomy for women; a culture of equality for young people; particularly in education; equality between women and men in the territories.
“International Women’s Rights Day is therefore important to give a platform to progressive and contemporary ideas, to give women a voice to convey a common message for equality. Nevertheless, the road is long, as I said, and requires the daily involvement of all women, a careful and considerate struggle, in collaboration with men, to affirm our own identities and values,” she added.