Another dawn broke in not only Gambian politics, but the society in general with the imminent unveiling of Dr Isatou Touray as an independent Presidential candidate in the forthcoming December presidential election in the Gambia. Dr Touray is the first female in the history of the Gambia to become a presidential candidate in the country. This is something to celebrate in one of the most conservative society when it comes to female matters.
Dr Isatou Touray is the co-founder and the Executive Director of Gambia Committee against Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP), and a Women’s Rights Activist working on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation in Africa and the Diaspora. She coordinates the Women and Law Project of the Network of Women living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) in the Gambia. Dr Touray has always engaged in networking and building alliances and coalitions to end violence against women and calling for Equality and Justice in the Family.
Dr Touray spent her entire life fighting to abolish FGM in the Gambia, she sacrifices her life, resources and time to see an end to bad traditional practises like FGM and violence against women. She at one time was labelled by some of our conservative religious leaders like Imam Fatty as a non-believer in God, i.e “Kafir” all because of her stand to see an end to social injustices against women and children in the country. Against all those misogynistic views directed at her and her peers, she continued to fight to see an end to FGM and her efforts were complemented in 2015 when President Jammeh announced the end of FGM practices in the Gambia.
In a society where men’s views are valued more than women, where men are always the head of households and institutions or where women are always asked to take the back seat, Dr Touray’s achievement should be a cause for celebration for all those progressive minded people in our society. As a father to a girl child, Dr Touray’s moved to become the first female presidential candidate in the Gambia has rejuvenated my belief that my daughter or any other woman in the country is not less equal to any man in our society. We hope this will be the beginning of a new era in Gambian politics where women will be occupying front seats instead of back seats.