Sierra Leone’s Minister of Gender, Manty Tarawallie has asserted that President Julius Maada Bio has been in the forefront in championing women’s issues in the county, since he was elected in 2018.

She noted that, she is very happy for this great achievement and the level of political will displayed by the President on assenting the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Act 2022, making it a law and laying a firm foundation for gender parity.

“It is a new dawn for women in Sierra Leone because the change we want to see as women is here. It is real and tangible, it is not lip service; it is a measurable change, and accountable change in an inclusive and comprehensive way that would move women, both rural and urban from insignificant, meaninglessness to acceptance of wealth, substance and value,” she said.

The GEWE Bill seeks to achieve the improvement of women’s access to political leadership and decision-making at all levels and encourage sectorial ministries to ensure the integration of gender-oriented goals into fiscal policies, processes and programs and meaningful resource allocation focusing on women’s needs.

President Bio recently launched the gender policy designed to serve as a reference to address gender issues and inequalities in Sierra Leone.

While giving his assent to the Law, President Bio proudly highlighted the significant role women have been playing in the country over the years, in particular, the 1995 “Peace Before Elections” demonstrations, and their role in the reconciliation drive post-civil war.

Even though women constitute more than 50% of the country’s population, the percentage did not reflect their involvement in key areas such as literacy, economic empowerment and decision-making and political participation and leadership as against their male counterparts as many women activists believed.

“The Bill seeks to address the gender imbalances by making provision for increased elective positions for women; to provide for the promotion of gender equality in employment and training, to provide for the implementation of gender mainstreaming and budgeting, providing for financial institutions to prescribe procedures for the improvement of women’s access to finance and to provide for other related matters,” the Minister said.

The Bill went through proper scrutiny, together with a series of amendments and public consultations with development partners and civil society organizations, amongst others, before it was passed into law.

“I am overwhelmed, I’m so happy; this shows the importance of the Act, as it lays the basis for the empowerment of women. Now, Sierra Leonean women have the opportunity to be given the right to safe seats in all elections.” According to Hon. Catherine Zaianab Tarawallie, an opposition representative In Parliament.