By Amin Kef (Ranger)
In a Press Statement issued by the Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) and dated the 19th January, 2023 it was stated that the Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), the GEWE Technical Team and Members of the Yellow Ribbon Campaign are extremely happy that His Excellency the President, Julius Maada Bio, has signed into law the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Act 2022 after its passage by the Parliament of Sierra Leone on the 15th November 2022.
CGG furthered that the GEWE Act, among other things, provides for at least 30% representation of women in Cabinet, Parliament and appointment in Ambassadorial and Foreign Missions, the Civil Service, Legal Council and in private institutions and enterprises with more than 25 employees.
It continued that beyond such the Act also extended maternity leave for women from 12 to 14 weeks, strengthens gender budgeting in the public sector and creates structures for gender mainstreaming across all sectors of life.
The CGG added that the historic event is a culmination of political will, the collective advocacy and leadership of the women of Sierra Leone, gender promotion agencies and progressive men and women who believed that a democratic, just and inclusive society is one that meaningfully includes it women in every decision-making structure of the society.
According to the Civil Society Organization, while they are not where they want to be as women, it is a significant entry point for women’s empowerment and equality that they can build on.
It stated that importantly, the Presidential assent of the GEWE Act of 2022 shows that when all work together and knock doors repeatedly with a clear focus and commitment remarkable ground-breaking achievements will be made irrespective of differences and political persuasions.
CGG and its partners extended thanks to HE President Julius Maada Bio for listening to the Sierra Leonean women, the Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs Madam Manty Tarawallie for her commitment to what was a long and tedious process, Parliament for passing such a progressive law and international development partners who stood by them throughout the long journey.
It stated that, however, the real winners are the women of Sierra Leone, national CSOs and other gender promoters and ‘Foot Soldiers’ who campaigned and knocked doors traversing the country.
CGG concluded by stating that a significant milestone has been met in the fight for gender equality and Women’s Empowerment adding that it is the beginning of another long journey to come, ensuring the Act is implemented to its fullest but said in the meantime, let them celebrate their collective success today and extended congratulations to all.