International Women’s Day – Commonwealth gathering urges countries to make this ‘the decade of gender equality’

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 March 2020:

A Commonwealth gathering has called for an end to gender inequality by 2030 so every girl can have the same opportunities as boys.  Meeting ahead of today’s celebration of International Women’s Day, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland joined a gathering of leaders, celebrities, academics and activists in London to discuss ways to accelerate the progress.

Despite decades of activism and reforms, only six countries in the world give women and men equal rights to work in their law books – an increase from none about 10 years ago.

The Secretary-General said: “Our Commonwealth Charter speaks of gender equality and women’s empowerment as being essential components of human development and basic human rights.

“Advancing women’s rights, the education of girls and their participation in the workforce are critical prerequisites for effective and sustainable development. For instance, on average, for every £1 invested in a business, those with all-male boards show a loss of two per cent, while those with two or more women yield a return of six per cent.

“But many countries need help to make it happen. So today, we are consulting on a toolkit that will support country-level efforts with training programmes and campaigns to accelerate gender equality.”

She declared this March as Commonwealth Gender Equality Month to “sharpen the focus on the need to accelerate the rate at which action is taken by our member nations to achieve gender equality”.

Delegates watched a new film that follows Livia Firth, co-founder of Eco-Age, to Botswana. In the film, she listens to women who have improved their living standards by working in Botswana’s diamond industry.

Over 80 cents of each dollar from Botswana’s diamonds go to funding measures to reduce poverty, empower women, deliver quality education and provide free health care.

Livia said: “In Botswana, I have seen a picture of what can happen when businesses operate in partnership with the government and civil society, and where long-term investments are made in collaboration with local communities to ensure that the benefits are truly shared with those on the ground.”

An expert panel discussed how diamonds have contributed to the sustainable development of Botswana uplifting communities and protecting the environment.

Panellists included The First lady of Botswana Neo Masisi, Patricia Scotland, Livia Firth, Baroness Lola Young, and three women featured in the film: Pat Dambe, Naseem Lahri and Kgalalelo Mokgweetsi.

Neo Masisi said: “Botswana’s economy transformed from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country in Africa where the discovery of diamonds has played a pivotal role in creating sustainable growth and development in Batswana’s livelihoods.

“Botswana has managed where many others have failed to translate the potential resources below ground into enduring value above ground.”

The panel presented a list of progressive practices, which had helped close the gender gap in the Botswanan workforce. These include engaging women in the development sector, investing equally in women and men and getting women into male-dominated industries.

The Secretary-General launched a toolkit, developed in partnership with the NO MORE Foundation, that will help implement the sustainable development goal five for gender equality.

The toolkit aims to provide guidance on devising culturally sensitive training programmes, bystanders intervention initiatives and motivational campaigns to bring about positive change more swiftly, including challenging gender-based violence.

International Women’s Day is a global event that celebrates women achievers in every field while calling for gender equality.


  1. I am not going to give Mr. Kemoh Brima the privilege of discussing anything with me because, it will be a waste of time. Discussing the issues with One off platform wanderers is absolutely a waste of time. Hear Mr. Kemoh Brima trotting this glorious platform with one off idle ideas for me to take notice of him, whilst at the same time telling me about his Physics Lecturer at NUC. Who cares if Mr. Kemoh Brima did a course about “Fizzy Drinks” at NUC.

    I will just ignore Mr. Kemoh Brima for now because, he is a one off commentator on this glorious platform. Mr. Kemoh Brima will be given the privilege to debate with me, when the time is ripe and when he gets some debating skills on this glorious platform. God help Mr. Kemoh Brima gain the experience he needs before attracting my thoughts for a debate. See you soon Mr. Kemoh Brima.

  2. I respect your views Yei Manga. Forget about being a Kono or not. Being a Kono or not does not matter. What matters is focusing on the issues and be yourself with your own “sentiments” based on your conviction. That is what I do and that is what matters. You can try to convince me but, I am not obliged to see “EYE to eye” with you. Remember that, knowledge is power. Does that make sense? Please reply. “Someone posted similar sentiment” – are you basing your argument on someone’s sentiment or reading the article and comments and making your own judgment? I hope you choose the later.

    God help Ms Yei Manga forget about suggesting being a Kono like me and more important, for the benefit of the debate/discussion on this glorious platform, be herself and stop mentioning the sentiment of others to me. That will just be for the birds. God bless Ms Yei Manga. See you soon.

    • “I respect your views Yei Manga. Forget about being a Kono or not. Being a Kono or not does not matter. What matters is focusing on the issues and be yourself with your own “sentiments” based on your conviction. That is what I do and that is what matters. You can try to convince me but, I am not obliged to see “EYE to eye” with you. Remember that, knowledge is power”

      Maturi, you posted an outlandish statement here about something which a very good primary school student can research and come up with the answer. You knew that your statement was false but you shamelessly went ahead to throw the gauntlet by asking readers to tell you how many women are ministers in Bio’s government compared to the former APC Administration? Next time, I would admonish you to take your time and do some due diligence on the topic you want to debate on before you expose your lack of critical thinking. What Yei Manga did was to educate you with indisputable facts. That does not mean that she was currying your favour to see EYE TO EYE with her. Like you stated knowledge is power. It is therefore very disgraceful to see people feigning to have one when they do not.

      My Physics Lecturer at NUC Dr. Lavali used to say that when you display knowledge at the appropriate time and place, you will gain the respect of your peers.
      One piece of advice to you; learning is a continuous process. None is big, old or powerful enough to stop learning. Even on this forum some of us learn a lot of things. We do not create excuses and try to divert the fact that our post exposes our ignorance.

  3. Sad to celebrate International Women’s Day in Sierra Leone. How many women are ministers in the Bio Administration as compared to the Former APC Administration? Let them tell me. This Administration has no interest in empowering women/girls, although they keep preaching it all the time. Could the Bio Administration take example from the Ramaphosa Administration in South Africa or the Trudeau Administration in Canada? I hope they do. God bless former President Ernest Bai Koroma, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, President Justin Trudeau of Canada and the women of Sierra Leone who will be empowered when the “New Order” to “get SALONE sorted” is established in 2023.

    • “Sad to celebrate International Women’s Day in Sierra Leone. How many women are ministers in the Bio Administration as compared to the Former APC Administration? Let them tell me.”-Sahr Matturi

      Mr. Maturi do you know what you are writing about? Some one posted similar sentiment about you in another post and you seem not to learn your lesson.

      I will tell you since you asked to be told. In president Koroma’s third cabinet which was from 3 December 2010 to 4 January 2013, there were only two ministers in his government, that is Dr. Zainab Bangura who resigned in August 2012 as Minister of health and Victoria Kamara who was the minister of Tourism.

      If you want to bicker check this:

      From 2016 to 2017 , there were only 4 full cabinent ministers including your sister Diana Konomani in the Koroma’s cabinet (see by 2018 before the election that number reduced to three as Sylvia Blyden was relieved of her post less than one year.

      Now for your education and if you are bold enough your apology to the Bio government, there are 6 full cabinet Ministers in the Bio Government excluding deputies. And for the first time Minister of Foreign affairs and Minister of Justice (both very senior cabinet post) are women. (see

      So Mr. Matturi, pay heed to caution. It is not the number of posts that determines your prowess. It is the substance of your post that draws you admirers and respect. Some here post under 6 or more monikers, so do not call people newcomers simply because you are not familiar with his or her moniker.

      Like you I am a Kono. We are a great people with his respect in the academic world.

      “Mbiana Mansa”

  4. The Commonwealth has been calling from rooftops,with the loudest trumpets,anyone has ever heard for decades,and yet still,only very little progress has been attained. Seems to me their strategies are not working at all, either because they are poorly conceived or not being properly implemented. Again, let’s call a spade what it is the one size fits all
    approach,for the advancements of women’s rights,and gender equality,being vigorously promoted by the Commonwealth,and other credible advocates,and institutions for women’s rights has failed miserably,and will forever continue to fail,mainly because of their inability to understand the complexed nature of the numerous challenges being faced in those geographical, cultural, and religious backgrounds in which millions of women were born,nurtured,and raised.

    Seriously,what planet are these people living on? It baffles,and confounds me to know that they simply don’t understand,that women of European, Asian and African descents have different kinds of inclinations,goals,aspirations,and distinctive personalities. Again,there are some societies where women are totally in agreement with the idea,that they are unequal to men,because of their moral,or religious upbringing…that they are of lesser gender,and should be faithfully, subservient to men. How then are you going to change such an indoctrinated mindset? And while trying to figure that out, remember also that a strong belief in anything is as deadly as munitions,grenades,and nuclear weapons.

    Governments came and went, doing all they could to advance the objectives and agendas for gender equality,but all to no avail; instead of making progress things are getting worse. In some countries women are being spoon-fed opportunities through the implementation of a quota system,specifically designed to give them the advantage over men but still they are lagging far behind.

    Maybe, its time to start putting aside that unrealistic western-minded mentality, considering instead, that men and women are different,capable of achieving their goals at a different pace,and for such reasons, there is no need whatsoever to compare, the two….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

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