Be Your Own Boss: Why Entrepreneurship Empowers Gambian Women

[By Olimata Kah]

In most recent years, Gambian women have been able to stand up for themselves in more ways than one. Business is arguably the prime way that they have been able to gain their independence. Beyond the financial, it builds their self-confidence. This is because the average Gambian man is ruled by a misogynist religious dogma that boxes all women, including his wife, into the domestic, which eventually turns into some form of abuse if she fights against this mentality.     
This is why being a boss for the average Gambian woman is a must! As much as every Gambian person is ruled by some form of religious belief, the majority (including women!) subscribe to very misogynist patriarchal views taken from ancient empires such the Roman and Greek and pasted in between the lines of scripture, thereby staining it with personal ideology which blends seamlessly into the dogma mentioned earlier.     

Why Being Your Boss Is Necessary

#1.Financial independence

At first, a Gambian woman might not have the mentality of “independent woman”. Chances are, she was thinking about the best way to take care of her children. This tends to be the narrative of the illiterate Gambian woman who was only taught that she is to become a good wife that bears as many children as her uterus would allow, cook and clean. I know I sound a bit harsh but that is the reality of life.
However, as a lot of women have had to take up the role of breadwinner due to being widowed or divorced, young Gambian women nowadays aren’t waiting for such a sad predicament; they are now starting businesses even before they get married!
Because the majority of Gambian women aren’t educated on being financially independent, they don’t know what to do the day after burying their husbands, causing them to depend on family members who aren’t always understanding or helpful. For this reason, microloans have now been made available for women to start their own business! They can start by selling fruits by the roadside or fish at the market.

#2.Not Reliant on Anyone

This one will upset a lot of people’s sensibilities but the truth for the longest time was this: a lot of women were getting married in order to have men take care of them—fully, and so they willfully abdicated their financial freedoms to men. However, once a woman is financially independent, she is not going to get into a romantic relationship with the idea of having a man pay her bills—so she is at a position of strength.    

#3.Exit plan

Till this day, there are a lot of women “trapped” in toxic and unhealthy relationships and marriages simply because they know that they won’t be able to stand up for themselves in terms of finances. So they continue to subject themselves to physical, emotional and mental abuse most especially if they have children. Financial independence gives every woman the exit strategy she needs to get out of a choking relationship.

#4.Creating jobs

 After having taken care of her family, the next thing a businesswoman is thinking about is creating jobs to better the lives of others. Call it what you want, that is the innate nature of a woman.
So to all the Gambian women out there, BE YOUR OWN BOSS!!