A memo allowing all female civil servants in The Gambia to leave work two hours early during Ramadan has been criticized as sexist.
The authorities said at the start of the Muslim holy fasting month that from Monday to Thursday women could leave at 2:00 pm local time and at 12:30 on Fridays as normal. The statement read that, “This is to allow female staff to attend to their evening ‘iftar’ preparations ahead of the breaking of the fast.”
However, now gender rights activist Fatou Baldeh said the initiative confines “women to the kitchen, while men work in the office”.
According to the BBC, Baldeh said, “When you say women to go home early, we as Gambian women know what that means.” She added, “It means go home and prepare food for breaking the fast, so go home and prepare food for your husband, for your family.
Baldeh further argued, “If this statement was given to everyone, if they said all civil servants can go home at two o’clock that’s a different thing.”
Umm Muhammed Umar