…says Plan Deputy Country Director
November 30, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Deputy Country Director of Plan International Sierra Leone has stated that women and girls are still fighting to overcome gender based violence at home, schools, university campuses and in public domain.
Delivering the keynote address at the annual general meeting of Women in the Media Sierra Leone (WIMSAL) last Friday, hosted at the J&E Resort in Bo, Farai Zisengwe noted that despite the ratification of many international treaties and conventions that promote and protect the rights of women and girls, yet women and girls continue to be discriminated against under the guise of cultural and other negative social practices.
He underscored that adolescent girls continue to be exposed to harmful traditional practices, particularly Female Genital Cutting and early marriage, as well as rights of inheritance to properties of their deceased parents.
“During the Ebola outbreak, when the protective environment for children was threatened, many teenage girls became pregnant and were subsequently disallowed in school or prevented from taking their exams. This is a pointer to the discrimination faced by girls who are now confronted with an increase likelihood of dropping out of school,” he stated.
According to Mr. Zisengwe, because the population of Sierra Leone constitute a large percentage of women and girls, it was obvious that they are the most deprived socially, economically and culturally.
He also reckoned that no country can prosper if half of its citizens are not included and active in national development and added that all reliable development indices show that investment in women is the single most effective poverty alleviation mechanism.
He concluded by stating that the meeting and its theme“The Role of the Media in Protecting and Advancing the Rights of Women and Adolescent Girls” was timely and therefore needs the support of everyone.
Meanwhile, outgoing WIMSAL President, Asmaa Kamara-James stated that the organisation would continue to support the advancement of female colleagues by providing welfare, protection and capacity development, while at the same time advocating for the rights of women and girls in the country.