The Assistant UN Secretary-General (ASG) and UN Women Deputy Executive Director, Ms. Asa Regner, have said the United Nation's Women's Office is committed to supporting Sierra Leone in achieving Agenda 2030.
Sierra Leone has made tremendous strides to achieve gender parity, the Gender Minister, Manty Tarwallie, said to the visiting #UNWomen team during a bilateral meeting at her office yesterday, June 30th, 2022. A Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy (GEWE) is in place, however, more needs to be done to support the passing of the GEWE bill which has been tabled in parliament.
ASG/DED Regner said there is a need to galvanize resources to meet the desired expectations of the Ministry of Gender. “I am here because we want to show that we are dedicated to Sierra Leone, and we want to find ways to work with you." In the last few hours we have seen constructive thinking around Sierra Leone and gender equality, "said Asa Regner
Ms. Asa Regner also said that there is a huge gap between policies and reality. “Most countries in the world have a gap between legislation and reality, and we’ve increasingly learned how to support the closing of that gap.”
ASG/DED Regner said that there are great lessons in Sierra Leone in the engagement of boys and men, as well as whole families, in the prevention, protection, and providing justice for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Sexuality Education is also an important tool for girls to know their rights, she concluded.
Regional Director of West and Central Africa of UN Women, Oulimata Sarr said she is very hopeful that the government of Sierra Leone will support “we know Sierra Leone is going to provide representation and resources to the women talked about in the GEWE Bill and we were very pleased to see how the bill is addressing issues of representation, the issue of economic empowerment, the issue of education of the girls,” she added that this is as a result of the commitment handwork and dedication of the Gender Minister.
At a meeting in Parliament with the Speaker, the #UNWomen team highlighted the GEWE Bill, which they described as all-encompassing for the attainment of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Sierra Leone.
“We are very hopeful that the bill, that is set before us will be passed. "We will be increasing the representation to 44 women as the bill requires that for every 2 males there should be a female representation," the Speaker of Parliament responded.
In a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor David Francis said Sierra Leone is a small country with free quality education. He said that 2% of the GDP is invested in free quality education, and that's translated into 2.5 million children going to school.
AGS/DED said when women's rights are upheld and put into practice, and when they hold political positions and other authority, we can really assess that the difference is more legitimate and long-lasting because it is much more inclusive.
#UNWomen RD I come from a country where clarity has been made since 2012. Since 2012, the parliament has had 50% local government and that's why we believe that Senegal will be seen as a source of inspiration.
Less than 20% of elected seats in Sierra Leone are held by women, who make up 52% of the country's overall population. In comparison to males, their representation, visibility, involvement, and voice in elected and appointed posts are still quite low. Inadequate progressive legislation that protects and promotes participation for women; high levels of illiteracy, deeply ingrained traditions and practices; political violence and retaliation, lack of economic independence; and lack of confidence to run for public office are a few of these obstacles.