Saturday, February 4, 2023

Sierra Leone president signs women’s rights bill into law

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — A landmark bill mandating that girls make up 30% of Sierra Leone’s workforce and authorities positions went into impact on Friday together with paid maternity depart advantages prolonged to 14 weeks.

The laws signed by President Julius Maada Bio applies to all corporations within the personal sector that make use of 25 or extra individuals. It additionally contains civil service positions and Cupboard appointments.

“The way forward for Sierra Leone is feminine,” Bio mentioned on the signing of the bill permitted by Parliament late final yr. “We should do all it takes to facilitate the well timed, full, and unconditional inclusion of ladies in our nationwide life, governance, and growth.”

The brand new law’s 30% rule doesn’t embrace smaller companies and those that are self-employed, eking out their livings promoting at markets or alongside roadsides. It does, nonetheless, additionally guarantee ladies equal entry to credit score and different monetary providers. Those that discriminate on the idea of gender may resist 5 years in jail in addition to fines.

“Like each law, it may be examined and those that are discovered to be in contravention will likely be delivered to e book,” mentioned Aisha Fofana Ibrahim, a outstanding gender scholar primarily based at Fourah Bay Faculty, College of Sierra Leone.

Charles Vandi, appearing deputy chief director within the Ministry of Gender and Kids’s Affairs, mentioned the federal government could be working to unfold the phrase concerning the new law.

Since taking workplace in 2018, the president and first girl Fatima Bio have targeted closely on the rights of ladies and ladies in Sierra Leone. Among the many efforts has been a marketing campaign in opposition to baby marriage referred to as “Fingers Off Our Ladies.”

About 30% of ladies in Sierra Leone are married earlier than the age of 18, based on authorities statistics. In 2020, a ban on pregnant younger ladies attending faculty was overturned, although social stigma usually stays a barrier.

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