Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a compelling keynote address at the official launch of the Network of Women Ministers and Parliamentarians in Sierra Leone (NeWMaP), President Julius Maada Bio emphasized the crucial role of NeWMaP members in championing policies that promote gender equity. Held at the Radisson Blu Hotel on November 21, 2023, the President called on the network to ensure the full integration of women’s talents and perspectives into the nation’s governance structures.
President Bio reminded NeWMaP members of the collective nature of the network, stating, “To the NeWMaP Members, remember that there is NO ‘I’ in Network.” He urged against individual agendas or ego-driven motives, emphasizing the need for the network to be a platform that empowers and supports its members. He cautioned against the “Pull Her Down” (PHD) Syndrome, stressing the importance of mutual encouragement for women to ascend to leadership positions.
Emphasizing the transformative power of empowered women, President Bio urged NeWMaP members to use the network as a platform to inspire the next generation of female leaders and public servants. By serving as role models, mentors, and advocates, he envisioned creating a lasting legacy of empowered women contributing to a more inclusive and prosperous Sierra Leone.
President Bio acknowledged the historical under-representation of women in Sierra Leone’s political landscape but highlighted the government’s commitment to gender equality. Notable achievements include the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Bill, ensuring 30% women’s representation, and various legislations supporting women’s empowerment.
As the He-For-She President, Bio encouraged NeWMaP to collaborate with male allies, underscoring the transformative impact such partnerships could have on political governance. He called for concrete actions to address gender disparities, amplify women’s voices, and promote legislative reforms for gender equality.
In conclusion, President Bio expressed confidence in NeWMaP’s potential to bring positive change and reshape Sierra Leone’s political landscape. He pledged ongoing support for the network’s success and urged members to use it as a powerful platform to mainstream gender issues in policies and development frameworks. PSN/23/11/2023