Gambia(JollofNews)  Fellow Gambians, fellow Women, you will recall that March 8th every year is designated by the international community as International Women’s Day, which is celebrated throughout the world with the objective to take stock of the achievements and challenges in the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women at national and global levels.

I wish to express on behalf of the National Organising Committee of the 2016 International Women’s Day, members of National Women’s Council, and Bureau, and on my own behalf, our sincere gratitude to the President of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Dr. Alhaji Yahya AJJ Jammeh for his continuous support to the advancement of women and girls.
Fellow Gambians, fellow women
As we mark the day, let us all remember that without equality and equity none of the MDGs or proposed SDGs will be accomplished therefore achieving gender equality requires equal access by women and girls to education, employment and income generating activities, health care, land and resources, as well as equal contribution to decision making. Women have a critical role to play in the attainment of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and 169 targets, which Gambiainclude the recognition of girls and women’s equality and empowerment as well as their wellbeing.
Fellow Gambians, fellow women
Over the years, significant progress has been registered in achieving gender equality and equity in the Gambia. The attainment of gender parity in basic secondary education, the proportion of females in top levels of government has increased. Maternal and infant mortality rates have dropped significantly and deliveries attended by skilled
birth attendants have improved tremendously, thus attaining the target set for the proportion of the population using improved drinking water.
Fellow Gambians, fellow women
In the area of women’s rights promotion and protection the enactment of the Women’s Amendment Act 2015 prohibiting the practice of FGM/C in the Gambia, is a significant milestones in addressing violence against women and girls and by extension ensuring the fulfillment of our international commitments to the attainment of gender equality, equity and empowerment of women and girls for sustainable development.
Fellow Gambians, fellow women
Ending teenage and child marriage preserves a girl’s childhood, promotes her education and reduces her exposure to violence and abuse, allowing her to fulfill her potentials in life. It can also break intergenerational cycles of poverty and allow women and girls to fully participate in society as girls with skills, education, access to economic assets and decision-making powers could make greater contributions to their communities and to their families.
Fellow Gambians, fellow women
On behalf of the National Organising Committee of the 2016 International Women’s Day, members of the National Women’s Council and Bureau, Girls and Women of the Gambia, and the world at large, I wish to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to all our partners for their continuous support and consideration to the commemoration of this 2016 International Women’s Day Celebrations hosted at the beautiful city of KMC. Let me also, on behalf of all women, recognise most particularly, His Excellency, the President Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh and the First Lady Madam Zineb Jammeh, for the fatherly and motherly roles they have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate for girls and women of the country and the world.
I wish you all happy celebrations.

May The Almighty Allah Subhaanahu Watalah bless us all.