An official of the overseas development of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland, Trócaire, has lauded the passing into law of the Gender Equality Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Bill in Sierra Leone as a great win for women and a step towards their advancement.
On November 15, Members of Parliament (MPs) in Sierra Leone unanimously voted for the new law, which states that one third of parliamentary seats be reserved for women. The Bill will now go to President Julius Bio who is expected to assent it into law.
“The GEWE Bill is a great win and a big leap in the advancement of women in governance and leadership in Sierra Leone,” Trócaire’s Programme Officer for Women Empowerment in the West African country has been quoted as saying in a November 22 report.Sudie Sellu says that through the adoption of the Bill into law, “the lives of Sierra Leonean women and girls can only get better from now on.”
Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs developed GEWE and the Minister introduced it to Parliament on 21 October 2021. The Bill also aims at improving women’s access to finance, more positions in employment, and to link government spending to improving gender equality. In the November 22 report, Trócaire officials say Sierra Leonean women are “routinely discriminated against and at risk of gender-based violence.” Ms. Sellu says Trócaire collaborated with other partners in “campaigning tirelessly to draft and ensure the enactment of this Bill.” “We will continue to advocate until the Bill gives the women of Sierra Leone what they deserve,” says Ms. Sellu.
In pushing for GEWE enactment, Trócaire reportedly worked alongside Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), Association for the Wellbeing of Rural Communities and Development, Women’s Forum for Human Rights and Democracy (WOFHRAD-SL), Social Enterprise Development, and the Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD).