Official of Catholic Church Entity Says Gender Bill in Sierra Leone “great win” for Women

Sierra Leone's Minister for Gender Manty Tarawalli (centre) with campaigners after the GEWE Bill was passed. Credit: Trócaire

An official of the overseas development of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland, Trócaire, has lauded the passing into law of the Gender Equality Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Bill in Sierra Leone as a great win for women and a step towards their advancement.

On November 15, Members of Parliament (MPs) in Sierra Leone unanimously voted for the new law, which states that one third of parliamentary seats be reserved for women. The Bill will now go to President Julius Bio who is expected to assent it into law.  

“The GEWE Bill is a great win and a big leap in the advancement of women in governance and leadership in Sierra Leone,” Trócaire’s Programme Officer for Women Empowerment in the West African country has been quoted as saying in a November 22 report.

Sudie Sellu says that through the adoption of the Bill into law, “the lives of Sierra Leonean women and girls can only get better from now on.”

Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs developed GEWE and the Minister introduced it to Parliament on 21 October 2021.


The Bill also aims at improving women’s access to finance, more positions in employment, and to link government spending to improving gender equality.

In the November 22 report, Trócaire officials say Sierra Leonean women are “routinely discriminated against and at risk of gender-based violence.”

Ms. Sellu says Trócaire collaborated with other partners in “campaigning tirelessly to draft and ensure the enactment of this Bill.”

“We will continue to advocate until the Bill gives the women of Sierra Leone what they deserve,” says Ms. Sellu.

In pushing for GEWE enactment, Trócaire reportedly worked alongside Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), Association for the Wellbeing of Rural Communities and Development, Women’s Forum for Human Rights and Democracy (WOFHRAD-SL), Social Enterprise Development, and the Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD). 

More in Africa

In the report, the President of Women’s Forum Sierra Leone, Sallay Adams, says the Bill will “change the dynamics of the empowerment of our women and girls”.

“It will create more inclusion for gender mainstreaming, political participation and access to finance. This is what we the women of Sierra Leone have been yearning to have over the past years,” Ms. Adams says in the report.

For the Executive Director of CGG, Marcella Samba-Sesay, the Bill is a “dawn of a new era for the women of Sierra Leone.”

“It is historic, revolutionary and a fulfillment of a major peacebuilding recommendation in my country,” Ms. Samba-Sesay is quoted as saying in the November 22 report.

On her part, the Organizing Secretary of WARDWiGN, Margaret M Fofanah, who also campaigned alongside Trócaire for the enactment of the Bill says that the real job has just begun and women should now come up and vie for political seats.


“The battle may have been won; however, the job is just getting started for women to vie for positions in government,’ Ms. Fofanah says, and adds, “The Bill will enable us to push further and ensure young women are brought on board.”

She goes on to say, “If the network continues with this strength, energy and mindset, I believe we will be able to change the narratives.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.