SLAWIJ Communications: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 July 2021:
Ministers of Cabinet under the leadership of President Julius Maada Bio yesterday Wednesday, approved the ‘Gender Empowerment Bill’ put forward and sponsored by the Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs Ms. Manty Tarawalli.
Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs Ms. Manty Tarawalli said “as a woman and line Minister, I am elated, excited and proud of His Excellency and my colleagues for supporting this landmark Bill.”
She added that the Bill will change the dynamics for women and increase opportunities across the country from local communities to districts and cities.
The Bill has four key provisions: 30% reserved seats for women in politics, 30% appointment positions for women, Access to finance and Gender mainstreaming and budgeting.
The Minister further stated that the Gender Empowerment Bill is a manifesto promise by President Julius Maada Bio which is about to be delivered “his tok N do leadership style is once more demonstrated through this Bill”, she said.
Ms. Manty Tarawalli said the Bill will be gazetted immediately and put on the schedule for Parliament sitting after they resume from recess.
SLAWIJ is the organisation representing and promoting Sierra Leonean women in journalism.
I beg to differ that our society is misogynist. Such a society would not have produced Ella Koblo Gulama, Nancy Steele, Yvonne Sawyer. The question here is, are our leaders following the western playbook or using innovative methods to improve our society. It seems as though we are abolishing the death penalty, empowering women next it will be LGBT rights. The issues that keep us in shackles such as an outdated land tenure system, hunger, lack of quality education, an ineffective and weak private sector, police brutality, tribalism etc etc are not being addressed.
Madam Manty Tarawalli; I beg to differ,a bill to empower women is a dagger in the heart of a a democracy still in its infancy;The Democratic objectives and principles of modern societies should strive at all cost to never engage in any acts of favoritism in a society still learning to embrace positive attitudes on Gender Equality in a chauvinistic environment nurtured by old beliefs and controlled by men. What you are now calling a Bill on Gender Empowerment is actually a craftily veiled initiative to introduce in Sierra Leone a “QUOTA SYSTEM.” A poorly advised,superficial method of governance that is biased against men,that will stifle progress and lead to unproductivity. Absurd! Madam spoonfeeding women opportunities is a big mistake – Its going to backfire in the long run; Women should be duly encouraged to EARN it through diligence and hard work.
Women have thrived and survived gallantly without a Bill to give them opportunities for centuries gone by and will continue to thrive and survive on their own terms. Madam Sawyer,Kamala Harris and Ellen Sirleaf all fought very bravely to reach for success and they did – that’s the attitude that women should strive to emulate. Mediocrity in a starving nation that is trying to Build to Last will not suffice. Answer – What will happen to those men who are innovative and competent than women you have decided to Spoon feed opportunities and positions of influence, high authority and power? Is such an attitude fair?
Why don’t we create a Strict System that looks diligently without partiality at the potentials and abilities of individuals and then award the best positions to those who are deserving of them irrespective of whether they are male or female. COMPETENCE should be our yardstick to measure the abilities of those who will be deemed as totally worthy of being entrusted with opportunities that are going to spearhead progress in Sierra Leone, my only home.(lol)
I hope this gender empowerment bill for women sail through the trouble waters of our parliamentary procedures with ease with out being hijacked by the usual suspects. Because as it’s stands today women in our misogynistic society, constrain by long held traditional beliefs that the man or the head of the family knows better than our Sierra Leoneans sisters, should prick the sense of anything sitting member of Parliament to ensure this gender empowerment Bill is made in to law. 30% for women representation should be the starting point. It should not be sized upon like an other Bio political gimmick or a window dressing exercise to satisfy our western donors in the age of ME TOO MOVEMENT that is shaking the very foundations of western democracies and the cooperate world. Real changes demands real changes not gimmicks.
Otherwise Sierra Leoneans women who already the worst discriminated against in our societies will suffer the double whammy an other Bio promise, which if failed to pass will put them in the cross hairs of men that wants to retain their misogynistic status over women. According the United Nations, sustainable development goals :”Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world “Also if this Bill pass it will address the five fundamental issues our women suffer in silence for that we men never have to worry about. :”Firstly, Gender-based violence, including domestic violence, is mitigated and reduce.
Secondly, Social protection and economic stimulus packages serve women and girl. Thirdly, people support and practise of equal sharing of care work. Fourthly, Women and girl lead and participate in COVID19 response and planning and decision making. And lastly, Data and coordination mechanisms include gender perspective. “If we can achieve this for all the better