January 16, 2018 By Memunatu Bangura
Leader and Presidential Candidate of the Unity Party, Femi Claudius-Cole, has noted that the political landscape in Sierra Leone would be better with women at the helm of affairs.
She was speaking last Saturday during the party’s delegates’ convention held at the Devotion Hall of the Freetown Secondary School for Girls (FSSG) in Freetown.
According to her, there has been no improvement in the lives of Sierra Leoneans especially women and girls, and that the political arena had been left in the hands of men with women left to stay behind.
“Over the years, women have not been involved in politics but they have their own roles to play in politics,” she said.
Madam Cole stated that youth, women and girls have been going through challenges amidst political struggle in the country.
The Unity Party Presidential Candidate maintained that women are the backbone of Sierra Leonean society, especially in rural communities, adding that issues that matter to the average Sierra Leonean woman cut across the spectrum of policy areas.
She lamented that despite the rights outlined in the constitution, many women do not enjoy the same freedom as men, particularly in the fields of education, economic empowerment and political participation.
According to her, no society can progress where half of it population suffers systematic discrimination, and that the Unity Party government would seek to end all forms of gender discrimination in both public and private sectors.
Madam Cole said she would improve anti-discriminatory legislation to afford women equality and equity in employment, education and housing, institutional merit- affirmative action in employment.
She vowed that if her party is given the opportunity, her government would protect women’s rights to own and inherit property on an equal basis with men, enforce legal protection for the fundamental rights of girls in all areas of religion, social and economic life, protect women right to life, shelter and right to choice and encourage public enlightenment on the issues.
As part of her plans, she said her party would provide greater legal protection for women from domestic violence and sexual harassment, provide special training for police on the handling of domestic violence issues, strengthen coordination between women and youth agencies, encourage local governments to combat female adult illiteracy with educational programmes in local languages and provide incentives for the private sector to support her initiatives and guarantee women and youth participation in governance, among others.
She noted that while she was ready to win the March 7 elections, she was also prepared to lose with dignity, thus encouraging Sierra Leoneans to vote with their heart and bring change to the lives of Sierra Leoneans and women at large.