Women, young people and social movements are shaping a ‘new political direction’ for The Gambia

Published on 6 December 2019

Vice President of the Gambia, Isatou Touray has spoken of the critical role that women, young people and social movements played in achieving the country’s non-violent transition from dictator to democracy, as she delivered the Institute of Development Studies Annual Lecture.

The lecture entitled ‘From dictatorship to democracy: the role of women in politics in The Gambia’ took place at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in the UK on Thursday 5 December.  Vice President Touray discussed her path from women’s rights activist to Vice President, the support she had from women in The Gambia and the diaspora and her continuing work to engage women in politics.

During her lecture, Vice President Touray, said: “Women constitute 58 per cent of national voters yet the number of women in governance and leadership positions, at different levels are very low. Similarly, youth constitute about 65 per cent of the population, yet they remained largely unemployed, at 39 per cent resulting in disillusionment and illegal migration.

“We felt that women, young people and the social movements should engage in shaping the new political direction, working closely with the existing parties to galvanise our collective efforts to effect the change we desired in a non-violent way.”

Discussing how it is possible to remove dictators without bloodshed and to form coalitions in the interest of the country rather than in the interests of individuals, Vice President Isatou Touray also talked of the important role played by neighbouring Senegal and the success of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – a regional union of 15 West African countries – in solving the crisis in Africa through African agencies.

Vice President of The Gambia, Isatou Touray was previously a PhD student at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), based at the University of Sussex in the UK, and went on to become the first female presidential candidate for The Gambia under the Team Touray campaign in 2016. She was appointed Vice President earlier this year.

The IDS Annual Lecture is available to watch again below.

The IDS Annual Lecture aims to convene the most exciting and innovative thinkers helping to tackle the global challenges of our time; reducing inequalities, accelerating sustainability and building inclusive and secure societies.

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