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CSO advocates for women’s protection, empowerment, access to justice

HomeNewsCSO advocates for women's protection, empowerment, access to justice

CSO advocates for women’s protection, empowerment, access to justice

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AdvocAid, a feminist civil society organisation has advocated for women’s protection, empowerment and access to justice in Sierra Leone.

The CSO has held a partnership conference organised by the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs with its partners at the Kenema District Council Hall and a community outreach at the IDA market.

The event targeted 25 members of the ‘Go Bifo Women Association’ to attend the conference and ‘4 Go Bifo Women’ to take the lead in their own advocacy by serving as speakers at the community outreach event.

Addressing the gathering; the chairperson of the occasion underpinned the importance of that day.

Jalahan Jakema, who also doubles as the South East Programme Officer for AdvocAid, told participants that this year’s IWD global theme is ‘Digital: Innovation and Technology for gender Equality.’

The theme she confirmed is aligned with the upcoming 67th session on the status of women, Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all girls.

The observance of the IWD, she furthered, is to recognise and celebrate the women and girls who are championing the advancement of women issues in the world.

The 2023 IWD according to the chairperson, explored the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities. She said, the event also look at protecting the rights of women and girls in the digital space.

Jalahan went on to inform that the gender responsive approach to innovation, technology and digital education can increase the awareness of women and girls regarding their rights and civic engagement.

She moreover thanked the government through the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs for the enactment of the Gender Equality and the Women’s Empowerment Act.

Representing PPRC, Elizabeth Yeabu Kamara, the Gender, Youth, and Disability Manager described president Bio as a gender activist, adding he has the Gender lens on.

The manager further lauded the president for empowering them as women. She pleaded with her fellow women to digitalize their businesses.

She informed that the Political Party Acts of 2022 and other acts make provision for political inclusion. This, according to her, is to ensure that women take strategic roles on the Political stage rather than just being chairladies for politicians.

Giving her keynotes address, Mary Wuyatta Karimu revealed that the first women’s day was established on the 28th of February 1999 in the United States and that it was established in honour of the garment workers’ strike of 1908 by women protesting against the harsh working condition.

The keynotes’ speaker further informed that the first International Women’s Day history states that women in Russia opted to protest and strike on the last Sunday of February 1917 under the slogan of ‘bread and peace’.

“From time to time, the International Women’s Day had been celebrated on different occasions, until it was finally agreed that March 8th be declared International Women’s Day every year. On this special day, women from different cultural, political, social and ethnic backgrounds-retrospect and celebrate our commitment to the battle for peace, justice, equality, and progress”, she said.

Mrs Wuyatta further disclosed that the day is preserved to know their values as women and realise their full potentials and invaluable contributions in all facets of development at local, national and international levels.

The theme, according to her, highlights the role of innovation and technology in promoting Gender Equality and meeting the health and development needs of women and girls.

She said innovation and technology have played a pivotal role in facilitating the campaign for Gender Equality, as well as Digital Health-care facilities. She was emphatic that Digital Health and other innovation technologies have contributed immensely to electronic medical records, health data management, security and effective communication between and among health workers, patients, and community stakeholders.

Additionally, she said they have made countless achievements in the fight for Gender Equality, Equity, and Gender main streaming, especially the three Gender Acts of 2007, the Sexual offences Act of 2012, and most recently the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Act of 2022.

She praised President Julius Maada Bio for the rapid increase in women’s participation in governance and politics under his leadership.

In her presentation on the Act, Honourable Bernadette Lahai clarified that 30% constituency seats in each district, specified in the First Schedule, shall be reserved exclusively for female candidates contesting parliamentary election and that 30% ward seats reserved in each locality, specified in the Second Schedule, shall be reserved exclusively for female candidates contesting local council election.

She continued that in a situation where a political party fails to comply with Subsection (1), the Electoral Commission shall reject the party’s list of candidates.

She added that the Electoral Commission in consultation with Political Parties Registration Commission, Council of Paramount Chiefs and representatives of civil society organizations interested in elections shall prescribe the procedures for securing reserved seats under Subsection (1) of Section 2.

Honourable Bernadette explained that in the act, a male, and a female shall have equal access and rights to credit and financial services, transactions, and products and that a Government financial institution, including the Bank of Sierra Leone and the Ministry of Finance shall prescribe the procedures for improving access to finance for female.

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