Women in Sierra Leone have emphasized that they need at least 62 out of the 124 seats in parliament as their current 19 are not sufficient.
This was stated by the past president of the 50/50 group, Dr Nemata Eshun-Baiden, during her statement at a two-day workshop organized by the British Council and the 50/50 group.
She explained that it was very hard to ask that the previous six seats be increased to 19 “which is better but we are not still satisfied because we want more seats for women”.
Highlighting the ministerial and cabinet positions occupied by women, Dr Eshun-Baiden stressed that in the cabinet there were three full women ministers out of the 24 and that they were still not satisfied because they wanted 12 cabinet ministers.
“We also have three deputy ministers out of the 21 but we are still not satisfied as we would rather have 11 female deputy ministers,” the past president echoed.
She urged political parties to give 30% of their candidates to women.
Talking about the place of woman, Dr Nemata Eshun-Baiden accentuated that “a woman’s place is not to command but to be allowed to work side by side with the men of this country in order to make it a better place for all and our children”.
In his keynote address delivered on behalf of President Tejan Kabbah, Dr Ramadan Dumbuya sated that in considering the number of women which was greater to men and their achievement to the development of the country “it is very important that they get more representation in politics and more especially in parliament”.
The president, he went on, commended 50/50 to raise the standards of women since its establishment.
He emphasized that they had ensured that “women have been appointed as chairpersons of various commissions and the Law Reform Commission has been reviewing many laws that discriminate against women and this includes marriage and inheritances”.
On behalf of the British Council the director, Tom Walsh, said the main reason for their involvement was because they thought the issue to be sensitive and that they wanted to see more women’s participation in politics.