Gunjur is incredibly proud of Fatoumata Sowe and Mariama Jatta as the first Women Cadi in The Gambia
The story of Fatoumata Sowe and Mariama Jatta as the first women Cadi in the Gambia captured the zeitgeist of equality on grounds of women education and economic empowerment.
This is a harbinger of breaking down barriers to female participation in running public institutions. It sends unequivocal message about equality to access high profile employment for women once they are educated like their male counterparts especially in Islamic education.
The two impressive women are radiant with intellect and they should not be apologetic about that. I know them and saw their progression from humble backgrounds to where they are now. I personally got involved in the educational journey of one of them. What a proud moment for me!
They were not deterred in the face of cultural, ideological and societal barriers that continue to affect social mobility of many women in the Gambia.
After their toils and searching for education the World over, the Gambia remains spectacularly prohibitive on what they can and cannot do as women in their quest for employment.
Their mothers grew up in traditional patriarchal communities but that did not stop them supporting their young daughter ’s educations in unimaginable difficult situations. This was, so that the women could get the well needed education but to be economically able too. With this, they will be able to take care of themselves and act as insurance covers to their poor and ageing parents.
Thus, their elevations to positions of enviable leadership positions should be a national celebration for the Gambian women but for students and teachers of the Islamic education but alas.
Nevertheless, armed with all encompassing education, women will no longer be submissive wives and mothers fit only in the confinements of homes as posited by some bigots.
Like mother Khadija; an independent business woman with an impressive presence, but mother Aisha who shimmers with the command of education and knowledge; Fatoumata and Mariama emerged.
Like the two impressive women, there are brilliant line up of Muslim women who were leaders of their countries and communities. But we do not have time to display those names but contrary to some allegations flaunted by misinformed preachers.
The Gambian women have enough of being told by their pseudo-imams cum politicians that they are not allowed to take positions of employment, in this case as Cadi.
But women are now stepping up rejecting impractical ideological narratives that removes them from contributing to public life.
To therefore cite questionable hadiths or take them out of context to criticise women from holding leadership positions and be confined to private sphere, will not work. In fact, which of the study of Islamic texts revealed that women are forbidden to be employed as Cadi?
Nonetheless, if women acquired Islamic knowledge, Sharia law knowledge, skills and piety - none of which are gender related. Why can’t they be employed as Cadi with or without having men with the same education?
Fatoumata and Mariama are rising sun and role models for budding women. They are emblems that portrays to women that education is the greatest equalisers of all.
Hence, women should never be distracted by a firebrand and misogynist bent on potholing them into ignorance in order to stop them from having important roles in the country’s development.
The dazzling young women are not only highly educated but of wisdom and decency. I implore them to continue to show us the sweep of their erudition as women of the Gambian literary world.
Please stay strong and weather over the critics specially of the false prophets that have passed their creative usefulness but still desperately hold on to misinformation.
The people of Gunjur are proud of you and we will celebrate and support you throughout.
Ebrima Scattred Janneh(EB)