Sierra Leone’s president, Julius Maada Bio, has signed a law guaranteeing women at least 30 percent of government, state-owned company and private sector positions, with equal pay. The reform is described as a breakthrough moment for gender equality in this African country of eight million.
The Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Act, signed by the President of Sierra Leone, stipulates that women must hold at least 30 percent of elected and appointed government positions and 30 percent of decision-making positions in public and private company bodies.
Currently, only 12 percent of parliamentarians and 17 percent of ministers are women. “Sierra Leone’s future belongs to women,” President Julius Maada Bio said before signing the bill. “We must do all we can to facilitate the timely, full and unconditional inclusion of women in our national life, governance and development,” he added.
“Women’s empowerment is essential for the health and social development of families, communities and countries,” said Sierra Leone’s president. The law also extends maternity leave from 12 to 14 weeks, Reuters reported.
“Women’s breakthrough moment” in Sierra Leone
Haja Alimatu Abdullah, head of the 50/50 group fighting for gender parity in Sierra Leone, called the bill “a watershed moment for women in the country.”
Main photo source: Alexandros Mikhailidis/Shutterstock