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50/50 Group calls for popularisation of GEWE Act 2022

HomeNews50/50 Group calls for popularisation of GEWE Act 2022

50/50 Group calls for popularisation of GEWE Act 2022

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The Fifty-Fifty Group Sierra Leone has called on the relevant authorities to popularize Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Act 2022.

The Group has concluded a 2-day National Women’s Conference with the theme: “Beyond Broken Promises: Making 2023 the Year of Accountability for Women in Sierra Leone.”

The aim is to bring together women leaders and other stakeholders to deliberate on the existing policies and laws that seek to address inequality and discrimination against women and girls in Sierra Leone.

The conference brought together women representatives from 16 districts across the country, which according to the Past President of Fifty-Fifty Group Sierra Leone, Haja Mariama Fofanah, seeks to discuss the limitations and barriers to women’s increased participation especially at the political decision-making levels.

She said participants enriched the discussion and contributed to the development of a national action plan, which at the end of the two-day deliberations they handed over to political parties for their review and commitment to the full implementation of the plan.

Basita Michael Esq., expressed appreciation for the conference’s theme, “Beyond Broken Promises: Making 2023 the year of Accountability for Women in Sierra Leone” which she said holds a critical significance.

She said Sierra Leone has made some progress and significant strides in recognising and protecting women’s rights through the adoption of various legal and policy frameworks.

Some of the key laws and policies that address women’s rights in Sierra Leone include: the Sierra Leone Constitution, of which, she said the constitution guarantees the right to equality before the law and prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

She added that the 1991 Constitution also promised that every citizen shall have equality of rights, obligations and the State shall ensure equal rights and access to all opportunities and benefits. It also promised protection from discrimination.

Basita Michael Esq maintained that the promises made by political parties in and outside their manifestos have promised that women will be empowered and discrimination against them will not be tolerated and that an examination of their manifestoes will illustrate that.

She said despite those promises and the efforts, both nationally and internationally, there are still overwhelming challenges and shortcomings in turning these commitments into reality and women in Sierra Leone continue to face various challenges, including gender-based violence.

“An estimated 62 per cent of women age 15–49 report having experienced physical or sexual violence, according to the 2019 Sierra Leone Demographic and Health Survey (SLDHS), inadequate access to education. World Bank data shows that the gap in adult literacy between men and women, is 15.2, larger than the gap of the Sub-Saharan Africa aggregate,” she added.

Yasmin Jusu Sheriff said the declaration reflect the recommendations put together by women representatives from the 16 districts across the country.

She said that during the conference women presents were educated on various topics which included the status of the recommendations of the constitutional review process, the implementation of the GEWE Act 2022, the Proportional Representation System for women, the Women Manifesto 2023 and the Public Elections Act 2022 among others.

Yasmin Jusu Sheriff said while they acknowledge and appreciate years of advocacy, mobilisation and struggle by the women of Sierra Leone, the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment legislation has finally been passed, and while they thank the President His Excellency Julius Maada Bio and the Parliament of Sierra Leone for the bold step taken towards the passage of the GEWE Act 2022 they cannot deny that the current law is less than they hoped for and expected.

On the GEWE Act 2022, she said that women urged for the popularization of the Act across the country through mass media engagement, training etc. adding that they further called on international organisations and others to fund the participation of female candidates in the forthcoming elections.

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