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Sierra Leone News: Gender Equality and Women empowerment bill soon

The Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Mustapha Bai Attila has disclosed that the gender equality and women’s empowerment bill will soon be tabled in parliament.
As different women solidarity group has been grouped into technical committee to look into issues to be included in the gender equality and women’s empowerment, the Ministry of Social welfare together with the Advocacy Movement Network (AMNet) and the Human Rights Commission has highlighted over ten recommendations that for the bill.
The Deputy maintained that they will continue to talk and engage the different stakeholders in the country to ensure that the 30% quota is enacted as it is very important in the development of the country.
He added that empowerment of women should not be limited to political appointment but also economical. He said in terms of political empowerment the current government has done “remarkably well” since there are lots of women Directors and Commissioners.
Attila maintained that the nation has signed and agreed to lot of international treaties relating to the empowerment of women and gender equality and therefore they have to see that it happens and while doing this they should take into account the patriarchal nature of our country.
These recommendations according to Gloria Bayoh, a Senior Human Rights Commissioner, includes governance- 30% quota; energy, infrastructure and transport, security and justice, education, training and ICT, agriculture, employment, private sector and industry, water, sanitation and health and land and property.
Explaining about their recommendations Bayoh stated that there are several suggestion that was brought which bring about equality as in the area of governance and 30% quota, it recommended any political party that submits candidates list to NEC to contest which does not comply with the 30% quota shall have the list refused by NEC.
In the area of energy, infrastructure and transport, among several recommends it stated that 30% women in negotiations about energy, infrastructure and transport support.
Education, training and ICT the Senior Human Right Officer disclosed that there should a support mechanism for teenage mothers to go back to school and that pregnant students must not be prevented from attending schools and sitting,
exams. It was also recommended that there should be support for non- formal functional numeracy and literacy for women, and a gender- sensitive teaching methodology in science and technology be introduced.
In the area of employment, private sector and industry, it is recommended that there should be a secure place for street trading and market place, and there should also be a women’s bureau to access loans and grants with low interest rates. On land property it is recommended that there should be harmonization of land laws and policies within the country without discrimination and there should be equal access to family, community and Chieftaincy properties.
The Chief Executive Director of AMNet Hawa Samai in her statement gave a background for the gender quality and women’s empowerment bill, she said this decision has been recommended by in 2004 Truth and Reconciliation Committee that 30% quota should be given to women in elected assembly.
However much was not done in that area and the debate sparked up when Madam Elizabeth Tortoe of Kono District was denied the right to contest for chieftaincy elections. It was at this time that lot of women’s organization stood up and call for women’s equal Lity.
Samai disclosed that to achieve these women organization have come together and divided into smaller groups each has an area to look into. And so far they have done to the provinces to get the women involved and to know what should be added to the draft bill.
Friday December 20, 2013

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