March 13, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai
Transparency International-Sierra Leone (TI-SL), has observed that women continue to be battered, raped, deprived and discriminated in their homes, communities and the country at large, amidst the traditional, cultural and legal norms and laws that continue to discriminate against them.
TI-SL made the above statement in a press release dated 8th March, 2017, as the institution joined women in Sierra Leone to celebrate the International Women’s Day.
The release added that, “Transparency International-Sierra Leone (TI-SL) as part of its Women and Corruption Campaign congratulate all women as they celebrate this day.”
TI-SL release stated that women’s right and access to opportunities continue to also remain a major challenge, adding that they were still subjected to sex slavery and sexual abuse and harassment, in their homes, communities, work places, and are largely viewed as sex tools when trying to access opportunities and services.
It also mentioned that, to date, women become victims of corruption in accessing land, health care, education, employment, finances and other opportunities, adding that to make it worse, the constant hike in prices of goods and services over the past few years has continued to put women under tremendous stress.
“Women, one of the vulnerable groups in the country, continue to make tremendous strides to empower themselves in all spheres of life. Notwithstanding, TI-SL, would like to highlight key issues that are worthy of note in ensuring that women take their rightful place in all spheres in Sierra Leone’s national development process, unhindered,” the TI-SL release stated.
It stated that corruption is one of the main factors that have contributed to the development challenges and the present precarious state of the country’s economy, noting that to date, it is an impediment in ensuring effective and sustainable human resource development especially of vulnerable groups in the country who are women, youth and children in general, the aged and physically challenged.
“Women on their own part continue to be averse to their fellow women and are mostly not supportive of those women who have been successful in life who should be celebrated as role models and torch bearers towards the effective and sustainable empowerment of women. Though the government has made considerable strides to improve the plight of women for which TI-SL commends them, we continue to urge them to do more,” the release noted.
The TI-SL release stated that wherever corruption is prevalent, women suffer more from the impact and consequences. It added that in view of this, TISL urges the Government of Sierra Leone to continue to put more women in leadership positions, to strive towards creating an enabling environment for women to access opportunities to empower themselves and to enforce the laws protecting women’s rights and ensuring their development.
“We therefore urge all women to unite to curb the scourge of corruption in the country, to employ all possible means to discourage corrupt acts as women can truly make the difference because of their strategic role in the family, communities, and nation as a whole. We also urge women, to behave responsibly and conduct themselves with dignity and respect, engage in productive activities that empowers them and promote development of their families and communities and be supportive of other women as together they can achieved their desired goals,” the release stated.