The Act states that 30 percent of candidates on party ballots must be women in local and national elections. Currently, just 13 percent of politicians in parliament in Sierra Leone are women. In 2020, Sierra Leone ranked 182nd out of 189 countries on the UN’s Gender Development Index.
The Act also provided for access by women to finance, extended maternity leave, equal pay and stipulated a 30 percent female quota of staff in companies with more than 25 employees.
With funding from Irish Aid, Trócaire and partners (Campaign for Good Governance, Association for the Wellbeing of Rural Communities and Development, Women’s Forum for Human Rights and Democracy, Social Enterprise Development, Network Movement for Justice and Development) have been campaigning for the passing of the GEWE Act for the past four years and have worked closely with members of parliament to draft the law.
The organisations also trained women to become empowered and know their political rights and developed an election manifesto to support women who are running for election.
Koroma says that the training she received from Trócaire partner Social Enterprise Development (SEND) helped her to respond to and overcome intimidation and abuses she received while working in politics.
“The GEWE Act will change things for women like me – if the men are willing to obey it,” Koroma says.
“We will have to see a big change in the attitudes of our male colleagues and within the party politics. The men have to be willing to allow women to take their seats and take up positions. I can’t see the men pushing women to succeed. I don’t think the men are ready. I think it will take a lot more advocacy and training. We are not getting tired. We are just getting started on our fight to be leaders of our country.”
“Men for centuries have left women at home to look after everything in the house. If they trust us to manage our homes and our children, why wouldn’t they trust us to run the government?”