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Building Bridges for Women in Seirra Leone Politics

Sierra Leone's political landscape recently witnessed a historic moment - the emergence of its youngest female lawmaker, Alice Kornya Sandy. This groundbreaking achievement comes hot on the heels of the Gender Empowerment Legislation of 2022, marking a significant stride towards gender equality in the nation.   


As we explore the impact of the Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment Act of 2022 (GEWE Act 2022), let's journey through the intricacies of Sierra Leone's political fabric and the transformative power of gender parity.  


The seeds of this historic milestone were sown by the implementation of the Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment Act of 2022 (GEWE). Inspired by recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) over two decades ago, this legislation advocates for a 30% representation of women in elected assemblies and other political roles. The vision? To achieve a 50/50 gender balance within a decade, steering Sierra Leone towards a future where women share the reins of power. Sierra Leone's journey towards gender equality is not solitary but part of a global movement. Since 1995, the nation has aligned itself with the UN Beijing Platform for Action, advocating for electoral reforms that promote women's inclusion in political spheres. This international solidarity underscores Sierra Leone's commitment to fostering a society where women's voices are not only heard but also respected.  


Impact of the GEWE Act: Transforming Sierra Leone's Landscape  

Ranked 162nd out of 170 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s Gender Inequality Index, Sierra Leone stands at a critical juncture in its quest for gender parity. The GEWE Act introduces sweeping reforms across various sectors: 

 

Economic Empowerment: Access to finance and employment opportunities are democratized, ensuring women receive equal pay for equal work.  


Maternity Rights: Women are granted 14 weeks of paid maternity leave, nurturing a harmonious balance between family and career.  


Training and Education: Equal access to training fosters women's empowerment, equipping them with the skills to thrive in diverse fields.  


Combating Discrimination: Gender discrimination is unequivocally condemned, signaling Sierra Leone's unwavering commitment to inclusivity.  


Quotas for Gender Parity: Mandating gender quotas in government and private sectors, the legislation sets the stage for balanced representation.  


Milestone Moment: 2023 Parliamentary Elections   

In a resounding victory for gender equality, the recent parliamentary elections witnessed 42 women securing seats out of 149, catapulting female representation to 28.2%. This landmark achievement brings Sierra Leone closer to its African counterparts, signaling a seismic shift towards gender parity in legislative bodies.  


Alice Kornya Sandy: A Trailblazer for Change

At the heart of this transformative journey stands Alice Kornya Sandy, a beacon of hope and inspiration. As the youngest female parliamentarian in Sierra Leone's history, her election epitomises the triumph of resilience and determination.   


In a poignant interview, Honourable Sandy articulates her unwavering commitment to fostering an inclusive political environment, where women's voices resonate with power and purpose.  


Empowering Women, Fortifying Democracy  

The election of Alice Kornya Sandy serves as a clarion call to women across Sierra Leone and the African continent. It is a testament to their unwavering spirit and boundless potential. As we celebrate this historic moment, let us remember that when women are empowered, societies flourish, and democracy thrives. The journey towards gender equality in Sierra Leone is far from over, but with trailblazers like Honorable Sandy leading the charge, the future is undeniably bright.  

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