Banjul, 08 March 2022 – The International Women’s Day is an important occasion to celebrate the incredible contribution of women to society and a reminder of the challenges they face to access quality education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. Today and every day, we need to advocate for a more gender equal society and strengthen partnerships to support the rights of every woman and girl.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow,” challenges us all to stand up for equal rights and opportunities for women and men as a guarantee for a future where every girl and boy can grow and reach their full potential. It also encourages us to work together with women and girls and push policymakers to address the climate crisis, develop green jobs and build a more just and sustainable world.

Women everywhere are playing critical roles in building homes, communities and nations and we must recognize their contributions and true potentials. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all seen the fundamental role women played in protecting the health and livelihoods of families. From groundbreaking research that led to the development of COVID-19 vaccines and diagnostic test kits to emergency response work in health facilities, homes and schools, women are always present and ready to save lives and rebuild hope.

The UN will continue to work with the Government of The Gambia to protect the rights of women, fight harmful traditional practices and reduce gender disparities. Over the years, we have registered many successes, but we can and must do more. We must work together to eliminate gender stereotypes and gender-based violence. We must educate, promote positive role models, and raise awareness at all levels of decision-making to support the rights of women.

The UN has also been working with the government and other partners including development actors, the private sector and civil society to enhance the capacities of women to increase their competitiveness. We will continue to advocate for and support more training and mentorship opportunities, access to digital technologies, gender responsive public procurement, cross border trade, export development and green growth. We will also continue to support the empowerment of women and girls as agents of change to innovate and build a better tomorrow.

Today, as we celebrate the International Women’s Day, it is our collective duty to pave the way for women, particularly the most underprivileged, to build a fairer and more equal future.

I wish every woman and girl in The Gambia a happy International Women’s Day celebration.