The Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs of Sierra Leone Manti Tarawalli during the 17th series of “a conversation” event organized by the Power women 232 has said that the decision to mainstream gender was a strategic one which ensured the integration of gender matters into every sphere of society instead of segregation as a woman’s law which could significantly obstruct if not altogether halt its implementation.
She explained that whilst the Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment law doesn’t specify whether the 30% for women are for elective or appointed positions, they are both guaranteed by existing laws of Sierra Leone specifically the Public elections Act and referencing these in the GEWE amplifies that.
She furthered that the Public Elections Act which oversees elective positions, sees that gender matters are given 30% quota and that must be infused in all sectoral policies and implemented thus.
She stated that whilst no institution can impose decisions on the Presidency based on the fact that the Constitution grants him the powers to form his cabinet, the regulations of the GEWE Act should encourage the President to implement the 30% in his appointments until such a time when this quota may be included in a revised constitution.
Madam Tarawalli outlined that a key challenge to implementing gender mainstreaming will be acceptances of women into authoritative positions and institutions, which is why the ministry has established a department to aid women in settling into their jobs, to prevent impediments on their performances after elections or appointments.
She concluded that regarding sexual harassment which is another challenge women face in public or private schools, universities and workplaces, structures such as a toll free call line and one stop centers have been established across the country and women should be encouraged to make reports, as this will discourage perpetrators from doing it.
Attendees at the event made submissions on her talk and responses, and talked about women owned businesses and how they could be improved.
The conversation series is an event held by Power Women 232 since 2015, to discuss issues affecting the country by sector champions and this series was done to seal the women’s month of March and it was held at Bliss Restaurant on the 31st March 2023.