The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has demanded for the government to provide free tertiary education for female journalists in Sierra Leone. The request was made in their Media Manifesto titled ‘The Media We Want To See’ which was launched on the 5th June 2023. The manifesto stated that the “Government should work with SLAJ to provide free tertiary education for female journalists”. To empower women journalists, SLAJ has also requested that the government and media owners should ensure they create an enabling environment for female journalists, make the media attractive for women, by supporting them reach middle and senior management positions, and ensure that their conditions of service are improved.

The manifesto said, “clear policies in relation to annual leave, maternity leave, and protection from harassment and abuse, particularly for female journalists”.

The manifesto also stated that the government and development partners through the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs, should work with SLAJ and women’s media associations and other media organizations in order to develop a gender policy that will protect and promote female journalists in accordance with the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Act.

Going further, it stated that the government should guarantee the safety of female journalists as they execute their duties and ensure they fully implement the GEWE Act.

The manifesto sited studies that have revealed that even though the number of women working in the media has increased globally, top positions such as producers, executives, publishers, and chief editors are still male-dominated. It added that the disparity is most evident in Africa, saying such a culture serves as an impediment to women  fulfilling their role as journalists such as in travelling away from home, evening work, and covering in Democracy.

It read that most of the work is done by women but that those in the decision-making positions are men, adding that this is because some of these women have not attained tertiary education, despite their skills.