UN Women Regional Director for West and Central Africa called on the Sierra Leone media to unstereotype gender narrative

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Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Asa Regner and UN Women Regional Director for West and Central Africa (RD), Ms. Oulimata Sarrwith the Sierra Leone Media post the official press conference Photocredit @EnvizageConcepts
Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Asa Regner and UN Women Regional Director for West and Central Africa (RD), Ms. Oulimata Sarrwith the Sierra Leone Media post the official press conference Photocredit @EnvizageConcepts

Freetown, 1 July 2022: – Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director UN Women (ASG/DED), Asa Regner, and UN Women Regional Director for West and Central Africa (RD), Ms. Oulimata Sarr have completed their first official mission to Sierra Leone.

At the official press briefing, RD Oulimata Sarr said the media is a critical ally of UN Women and called on them to unstereotype and help change the gender narrative in Sierra Leone. UN Women, she says, will share the knowledge, data, and advocacy papers for the media to play their critical role on gender equality and the achievement of Sustainable Development goals.

During their three-day visit in Sierra Leone, ASG/DED Regner and RD Sarr held strategic meetings with the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Brigadier (Retired) Dr. Julius Maada Bio, the Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, the Speaker of Parliament Dr. Abass Bundu, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs and Ministry of Finance, Speaker of Parliament, members of the Female Parliamentary Caucus, and the Statistician-General of Statistics Sierra Leone. ASG/DED Regner and RD Sarr also interacted with female organisations who exhibited some of UN Women interventions in Sierra Leone.

Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Asa Regner and UN Women Regional Director  for West and Central Africa (RD), Ms. Oulimata Sarrwith Marie Bob Kandeh, President  Market Women AssociationPhoto credit @UN Women
Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Asa Regner and UN Women Regional Director for West and Central Africa (RD), Ms. Oulimata Sarrwith Marie Bob Kandeh, President Market Women AssociationPhoto credit @UN Women
Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Asa Regner with First Lady of Sierra Leone Fatima Maada Bio at the official dinner hosted by the first Lady during her visit in Sierra Leone Photo credit @UN Women
Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Asa Regner with First Lady of Sierra Leone Fatima Maada Bio at the official dinner hosted by the first Lady during her visit in Sierra Leone Photo credit @UN Women

 

The visiting team also met with the UN Country Team and members of the Diplomatic Community and development partners.

Ms. Regner and team emphasized UN Women’s commitment in assisting the Government and people of Sierra Leone in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment; the enactment of the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Act; support interventions aimed at eradicating sexual and gender-based violence; breaking the culture of violence, silence, and impunity and a peaceful 2023 electoral process.

She noted that Sierra Leone has made important strides in advancing the rights of women and girls through policies and legislation, but the resource challenge is real, and the UN will provide strategic support to close the gap on the effective implementation of these policies Ms. Asa Regner 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”.

Ms. Regner and team emphasized UN Women’s commitment in assisting the Government and people of Sierra Leone in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment; the enactment of the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Act; support interventions aimed at eradicating sexual and gender-based violence; breaking the culture of violence, silence, and impunity and a peaceful 2023 electoral process.

She noted that Sierra Leone has made important strides in advancing the rights of women and girls through policies and legislation, but the resource challenge is real, and the UN will provide strategic support to close the gap on the effective implementation of these policies Ms. Asa Regner 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”.

Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Asa Regner and UN Women Regional Director  for West and Central Africa (RD), Ms. Oulimata Sarrwith the Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Ms. Manty TarawalliePhoto credit @UN Women
Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Asa Regner and UN Women Regional Director for West and Central Africa (RD), Ms. Oulimata Sarrwith the Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Ms. Manty TarawalliePhoto credit @UN Women

Sierra Leone has made tremendous strides to achieve gender parity, the Gender Minister Manty Tarwallie said to the visiting UN Women team during a bilateral meeting at her office on Thursday 30th June 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”.

Ms. Regner called upon the country leadership to foster a common agenda to promote women’s political participation and take advantage of the 30 percent gender quota for political party candidates, as Sierra Leone is preparing for the 2023 elections.

ASG/DED Regner said there is need to galvanise resources to meet the desired expectations of the Ministry of Gender and she is pleased that there is an increased in constructive thinking around Sierra Leone on Gender Equality.

ASG/DED Regner highlighted the challenges on maternal mortality, female genital mutilation, and high dose of poverty for many women, especially in remote areas.

Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Asa Regner at the ACSHR  forum during her visit in Sierra LeonePhoto credit @UN Women
Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Asa Regner at the ACSHR forum during her visit in Sierra LeonePhoto credit @UN Women

Ms. Regner had an opportunity to visit the Commit and Act Foundation in Bo City, met with the National Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Response Coordinators, key SGBV service providers and victims. She also made a keynote address at the 10th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights 2022 (ACSHR 2022) with a focus on the Generation Equality Forum and the European Union – United Nations Spotlight Initiative.

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 on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV). Sexuality Education is also an important tool for girls to know their rights, she concluded.

For more information, please contact:

  1. Patience Ekeoba: UN Women Programme Coordination Specialist; ekeoba@unwomen.org; Cellphone +23276042732
  2. Faisal Lewally: Assistant Coordinator; lewallyfais@outlook.com; Cellphone: +23299520730
  3. Yeama Sarah Thompson: Commissioned Communications Consultant; thompson@gmail.com; Cellphone + 232 79107752

About UN-Women: UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes, and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls worldwide. It works globally to make the vision of the SDGs a reality for women and girls and stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on four strategic priorities

 

 

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