Senegal – Law Approved on Gender Parity
Author: Womens UN Report Network
Date: July 22, 2005
Senegal – Law Approved on
By Moussa B. Diallo
Jun 7, 2010 (IPS) – A law on gender parity in electoral lists, approved by a
large majority in Senegal’s National Assembly, has been welcomed by women from
diverse walks of life.
legislator Ndèye Fatou Touré, the law will give a considerable boost to women.
“Parity is a lifting of obstacles, an open door. This law will allow women
equal access to decision-making,” she told IPS.
Mbengue Ndiaye, the Socialist mayor of Louga in northwest
starting because we have to convince all the sceptics. But we will also have to
educate women, provide them with training, build their capacity and even change
behaviors and attitudes,” she said.
Diop, president of the non-governmental organisation Senegalese Council for
Women (known by its French acronym, COSEF), said, “We must now support and
educate communities so they can take ownership of the new law. We also call on
the head of state to promulgate it, but especially civil society which now has
important work to do in terms of monitoring.”
Sall, a law student at the University Cheikh Anta Diop, the law reverses an
injustice. “Women are essential to the country’s development.
Unfortunately, they are absent in most decision-making bodies.”
the new law opens new opportunities. “Decisions were made for (women)
without their presence or even their opinion and resulted in policies which
were often inappropriate because the main beneficiaries weren’t consulted. It
is a major step forward in Senegalese women’s social progress.”
under-represented in elected office
The bill is
seen by NGOs as an important step in implementing the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
of women in political institutions is not high in
according to official statistics. But in the National Assembly, there are just
33 women legislators, representing 22 percent of the total. There are only
seven women mayors out of a total of 107. There are almost no female
councillors in rural areas.
there are some who are not welcoming the law with open arms. Liberal MP El
Hadji Wack Ly sees it as discriminatory.
parity law favors the domination of one gender over another. If parity means
equality but not egalitarianism, this law has no purpose,” he argues.
who heads the political desk at the daily newspaper ‘Le Quotidien’, believes
that the law has been adopted too hastily.
vote for this kind of legislation that affects the social, religious, and
political spheres, you must establish the broadest possible consensus. Because
these are very sensitive issues,” he told IPS. “Having a majority
vote doesn’t necessarily mean that anything goes. Social reality must be taken
into account. People are still waiting for President Abdoulaye Wade to act on
the much more pressing Family Code.”
Mansour Sall, member of the Tidianes religious confraternity in
bodies were not invited to take part in debate over it, which he considers
ill-advisded in a country where 95 percent of the population is Muslim.
Tine, secretary-general of the African Assembly for the Defense of Human Rights
(RADDHO, the Rencontre africaine des droits de l’homme), says the debate should
parity doesn’t mean replacing men, but giving more visibility to women. If it
is well understood it cause any social conflict. We have to develop the social
and cultural conditions to accompany it,” he told IPS.
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