The women of Sierra Leone under the umbrella of the Mano River Women’s Peace Network (MARWOPNET) and a host of other women’s coalition like Election Watch Plus plans to push for a 30% quota in decision making bodies to be given to them.
Dr Nana Pratt, the focal person for MARWOPNET told Awoko that they have submitted a written plea to the Constitutional Review Commission, working to review Sierra Leone’s 1991 constitution.
“We are lobbying for a 30% quota for all levels of elective and appointed offices, including parliament, Local Councils etc. said Dr Eshun Baiden the Founder of 50/50 group.
According to Dr Pratt she and a few other women will be meeting the Commission to defend and give oral arguments for the 30% quota representation.
“This campaign is within the framework of affirmative action and we are expected to defend our arguments on the 27th September 2007,” Dr Pratt revealed. “Our strongest argument would be pointing to the fact that Sierra Leone participated so actively at the Beijing Conference where the outcome document called for women to be given the 30% quota, so it stands to reason that Sierra Leone should implement what it had agreed to do and to also respond to the recommendations of the CEDAW conventions that also called for this 30% quota” she stated.
“If the commission talks about discrimination we will tell them that the government used affirmative action administratively when they recognized that in the north and in the east of the country, girls’ education lagged behind the boys so they had gone on to award scholarship and make other provisions only for the girls which we will not call discriminatory but trying to bridge the gap.”
The Chairperson for the Human Rights Commission, Jamesina King said that the Commission will support the women to push for the 30% quota. She averred “it is positive affirmative action which discriminates to ensure fairness, ensure justice and redress an imbalance that has taken place in our society”
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has also recommended that 30% of all leadership position in every level should be given to women.
Jamesina said that the Human Rights Commission has made recommendations to the constitutional review commission to give 30% to women, stressing also that it is imperative that government pay attention to this recommendation by the TRC.