Mrs. Fatima Bio
The wife of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) presidential hopeful, Mrs. Fatima Bio has said in Freetown that in the 2012 National elections, her husband through the NEC of SLPP appointed a woman as presidential running mate in Dr. Kadie Sesay. « This further strengthened my husband’s commitment to empowering women », she noted. « On that note », she said, « I will like to make a national call to fellow Sierra Leoneans to increase women’s participation in politics ». Mrs. Bio revealed that in terms of women’s participation in the political process, the new direction government shall consider three key points.
« First we will examine the form and level of representation in the organs of government, including the legislature, executive, civil service, state-owned enterprises and government agencies. Second, we will look at the existence and autonomy of women’s organisations that can push the frontiers of women’s demands in the political and social arena. And third we will enhance the performance of those organisations in the empowerment of women in the social, economic and political processes of society ».
She said their focus will be on restoring the confidence in women to tackle gender inequality to face the competitive social, political and economical challengers in society through education and empowerment. She pointed to her husband’s policy on Women’s Empowerment wherein special privileges are given to women of Sierra Leone, including Free Education for women pursuing science, engineering and medical disciplines in university.
For Economic Empowerment through women’s development fund to support the female entrepreneurs and promoting women in agriculture, she promised that her husband will review existing gender laws in Sierra Leone and enforce existing laws. She also emphasised the need actual implement the 30% quota for women in elective and appointed positions.
What are her plans to overcome some of the current challenges that women and children face in Sierra Leone, the erudite first lady in waiting noted that their government will promote and popularise fundamental international treaties on promotion and protection on the right of women and girls in Sierra Leone and key among those will be to support the implementation of existing policies and legislations, like the Child Right Acts, The Registration of customary marriage and divorce act 2009. The Sierra Leone Child Rights Act of 2007, The Sexual Offences Act 2012 and other legislative and policy options. She said they will also work with other agencies that seek to promote and protect the interest of welfare children and women in society.