Source: The Daily Observer
The vice president and minister of Women's' Affairs, Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, Tuesday presided over the validation of the African Gender and Development Index (AGDI) report at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi. AGDI is a composite index of gender equality introduced by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

It is specifically an African index with an emphasis on the major African charters and documents that have a bearing on gender relations and women's empowerment. The index was officially launched at the Fourth African Development Forum (ADF IV) in Addis Ababa on 12 October 2004. The index is composed of two parts, the Gender Status Index (GSI) and the African Women's Progress Scoreboard (AWPS).

Speaking at the launching ceremony, VP Njie-Saidy told the gathering that the report measures the gap between men and women and aims to assist Africans. She said Gambia, having obligations on reporting on progress made in gender equality and empowerment of women has used key instruments like the AU Women's Protocol, CEDAW, and MDG progress report, amongst others.

She harped on the need to 'mainstream gender and empower our women' while informing the gathering that The Gambia has fulfilled most of its gender-related reporting obligations to international bodies, with UN CEDAW as the only pending report whose fourth, fifth and sixth editions have been developed and will soon be submitted to the UN CEDAW committee.

She further stated that the AGDI report is a composite index that measures the gap between men and women and access the progress made in the implementation of various gender and women empowerment policies. She noted that the report also incorporate the major international and African Charters and Conventions, including MDGs, as well as integrate some number of variables that have particular relevance to men and women.

She added: "The aim of the index is therefore to assist African countries to develop uniform monitoring indicators and mechanisms that will allow policymakers and planners to access their performances."

Alieu Ndow, the statistician general at the Gambia Bureau of Statistics( GBOS) disclosed that AGDI emanated from international discussions on gender issues. He explained that the Gender Statistics Index (GSI) looks at inequalities in a quantitative way and can be referred to as a sub-sect of all development issues, while the African Women's Progress Scoreboard (AWPS) calls for women empowerment and issues that hinder women development.

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