The Gambia has a rich history of trailblazing women who have made significant contributions to society. From entrepreneurs and educators to politicians and authors, Gambian women have shattered glass ceilings and set an example for generations to come.
At Kuringo, we’re committed to promoting financial inclusion and empowering women entrepreneurs in The Gambia. In this blog post, we want to celebrate some of the most prominent women of excellence in The Gambia and their achievements.
Alice Carr: The Gambian Business Magnate
Alice Carr was a visionary entrepreneur who started as a seamstress before expanding into importing and distributing foodstuffs. Her drive and ambition led her to become the biggest importer of kola-nuts in The Gambia. Mrs. Carr also started the country’s only cement block and tile factory, as well as a transportation business.
Mrs. Carr’s contributions to society extended beyond her business ventures. She provided jobs to many Gambians and encouraged youths to take up job training in skilled trades. She was an active member of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and various women’s organizations. She supported causes in different Christian denominations and the Muslim community. Mrs. Carr was bestowed the honor of Member of the Republic of The Gambia (MRG) for her services to the nation.
Musu Kebba Drammeh: The Gambian Trailblazer
Musu Kebba Drammeh was a celebrated Gambian businesswoman, renowned for her tie & dye and batik creations. Her passion for promoting Gambian culture led her to travel worldwide, showcasing her art and breaking down barriers between people of different backgrounds.
Musu was also a generous and welcoming individual, providing employment opportunities to hundreds of Gambians through her various business ventures. Her contributions to society earned her widespread respect and admiration as a trailblazer and a role model for young women and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Louise N’Jie: The First Female Cabinet Minister
Louise Antoinette N’Jie, MBE, made history as the Gambia’s first female cabinet minister. After a career as a teacher, she joined the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and became only the second female MP in 1977. N’Jie was appointed parliamentary secretary in 1979 and in 1985 became the first woman to hold a cabinet position in The Gambia as Minister of Youth, Sport, and Culture. She championed education and policies for better access and equality for girls. N’Jie founded and led the Soroptimist Society and served as president of the Gambia Red Cross Society.
Dr. Florence Mahoney: The Gambian Historian
Florence Mahoney is a Gambian historian and author. She was the first Gambian woman to receive a PhD, which she earned in history from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. Mahoney also received a postgraduate degree in Education from St Hilda’s College at the University of Oxford. She is the author of four books and has lectured on African history at Spelman College in Georgia as a Fulbright Professor.
Harriet Margaret Ndow: The Gambian Educator
Harriet Margaret Ndow was a prominent Gambian educator who started her teaching career in 1948 at St. Joseph primary school in Banjul. After completing her training as a primary teacher at Achimota School in Ghana, she graduated as a qualified teacher in 1955 and pursued further studies in teaching, reading, mathematics, and management at Oxford University in the UK.
In 1963, she established Kampama School, which later became Ndow’s Group of Schools, aimed at educating children from impoverished backgrounds. Ndow’s commitment to providing quality education for all Gambian children made her a national icon. She believed that every child deserved an opportunity to learn, grow and develop, regardless of their family’s financial status.
Harriet Ndow retired in 1981 as headmistress of Serrekunda Primary School after being decorated by former Gambian presidents and eight foreign governments. She was conferred with a PhD by a college in the UK, making her one of the most decorated Gambian women. Ndow’s legacy lives on through the many students she taught and inspired throughout her career. Her dedication to education and providing opportunities for Gambian children will forever be remembered.
These women have not only broken gender barriers but have also left an indelible mark on Gambian society. Their legacy of entrepreneurship, education, and leadership continues to inspire and motivate young Gambian women and aspiring entrepreneurs. Their stories highlight the importance of women’s participation in economic development, leadership, and decision-making. Through their hard work, dedication, and perseverance, they have set an example for future generations to follow.
In conclusion, as we celebrate Women’s History Month, it’s important to recognize the contributions of Gambian women to society, particularly in the areas of entrepreneurship, education, and leadership. The women of excellence mentioned in this blog have left a lasting impact on The Gambia and continue to inspire future.