A ground breaking law has just been passed in Sierra Leone as part of the country’s efforts towards achieving gender parity.
The Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Act (GEWE) states that 30% of jobs in both the public and private sectors must be reserved for women, the BBC reports.
The law also ring fences senior positions at the work place for women on top of creating more benefits like; at least 14-weeks of maternity leave, and equal access to bank financing and training opportunities.
” For so long we have not been fair to you.” Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio said in an apology to the country’s women apparently for the poor treatment meted to them in the past, according to the BBC.
This law, though not fully confirmed, marks what appears to be a real commitment towards gender parity by an African Government.
The law will apply to any business with at least 25 employees and creates severe punishments for employers who refuse to heed its clauses.
Fines of up to $2500 (about 9.2M UGX) and/or prison time offenders.
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs Manty Tarawalli told the BBC; that Girls who are in school due to the passing of this law know that ” there are employment opportunities for them in Sierra Leone for employment [and] for business.”
According to UN Women, strides towards advancement of women’s rights have been made across the continent but more needs to be done with ” the majority of women” working ” in insecure, poorly paid jobs, with few opportunities for advancement.”