President Julius Maada Bio Signs Law to Defend And Prosper Women In Sierra Leone

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In a bid to defend the rights of women and ensure their prosperity, good health, and self-dependence, Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio, has signed into law a bill requiring all public or private enterprises to reserve thirty percent of their positions for women, including in senior positions. The decision was celebrated as a turning point for gender equality.

The Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Act (GEWE) mandates that at least a percent of elected and appointed government positions and thirty percent of decision-making positions in both public and private organizations must be held by women.

The measure also increases the length of maternity leave from twelve to fourteen weeks. Honourable Manty Tarawalli, the Minister for Gender and Children’s Affairs Ministry of the Republic of Sierra Leone, said on the BBC’s Newsday radio program that, “the law means a lot to women in Sierra Leone and that no other sub-Saharan African nation has enacted a similar law. The law informs girls who are still in school that they have options in Sierra Leone for employment for business and for them to contribute to the economy.”

During the signing ceremony in Freetown, the president said, “The Women’s Equality and Empowerment Act, which I am enacting today, will unquestionably eliminate the gender disparities in our nation. We must verify that it functions”. In an apology to women for past mistreatment, President Julius Maada Bio remarked, “For so long, we haven’t been fair to you.

We must never longer impede, denigrate, frighten, or hinder women who wish to work in the public sector and those who support them. It won’t be simple because men have had this position for a very long time. To ensure justice and transparency in the polls, we must watch the electoral processes.”

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) records that less than twenty percent of elected seats in Sierra Leone are held by women, who make up fifty-two percent of the country’s overall population. In comparison to men, their representation, visibility, participation, and voice in elective and appointed posts are still quite low.

The absence of progressive legislation that protects and promotes participation for women, high levels of illiteracy, deeply ingrained traditions and practices, political violence and retaliation, a lack of economic independence, and a lack of confidence to run for public office are a few of these obstacles.

The newly passed equality act aims to tackle the massive imbalance between men and women in positions of power. The legislation also applies to Parliament, where women must hold thirty percent of the 146 seats. It is important to note that four of the thirty-two people in President Julius Maada Bio’s government are among the eighteen women who now sit in Parliament.

The thirty percent employment requirement includes management positions equally, thus firms cannot just hire women for entry-level positions to comply with the regulation. For each infraction, employers who break the law are subject to a fine of 50,000 leones (2,400 euros).

Prior to the bill, Sierra Leone had a reputation for openly discriminating against women in the workplace. Despite making considerable economic and family contributions, women in Sierra Leone were severely marginalized. In the past, pregnant working-class women in Sierra Leone ran the risk of losing their jobs.

The legislation in Sierra Leone at the time mandated a twelve-week maternity leave, but certain organizations there did not follow it in order to safeguard the lives and health of expectant working-class women there. While women are employed in certain other businesses, they are unable to hold positions of authority in management.

Even if there have been improvements in possibilities for women and girls, gender inequality and the denial of women’s rights are still deeply ingrained in Sierra Leonean society, according to the United Nations Sexual and Reproductive Health Agency (UNFPA).

There are several benefits to having more women in the workforce. Working women achieve financial independence and gain more control over their life on a micro level.

This empowers women to resist physical and psychological abuse and deal with societal pressures and challenges on their own. Due to increased income, working women’s families can also enjoy a greater standard of living.

On a macro level, the economy as a whole benefit from more women entering the workforce. According to a 2016 McKinsey Global Institute analysis, increased gender diversity might boost the global economy by twelve trillion dollars by 2025.

Women contribute to creating an inspiring workplace culture by promoting teamwork, healthy competition, and camaraderie by assisting the business in reaching its full potential. Economies expand as more women work.

In addition to other beneficial development results, the economic empowerment of women raises productivity, enhances economic diversification, and increases income equality.

Increased educational attainment among women and girls promotes inclusive economic growth and the economic empowerment of women. For women’s and girls’ health and wellbeing, as well as their income-generation opportunities and participation in the formal labour market, education, up-skilling, and re-skilling throughout the life course are crucial. This is especially true to keep up with the rapid technological and digital transformations affecting jobs.

President Julius Maada Bio Signs Law to Defend And Prosper Women In Sierra Leone

President Julius Maada Bio Signs Law to Defend And Prosper Women In Sierra Leone

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