Addressing the women of Sierra Leone, the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Madam Isata Kabia explained that everyday should be consider as international women’s day, especially in the lives of women across the country and the world at large. She maintained that Sierra Leone started celebrating IWD in 1985, and the event has since become a time to reflect on progress made in the advancement of women and the attainment of gender equality in society. She revealed that in 2013 President Koroma officially declared March 8 as a public holiday, making Sierra Leone one of the 28 countries to observe March 8th Every year as public holiday. Over the years she said, the IWD has been celebrated by organizing National Advocacy forums in various provincial headquarters towns and Freetown. Due to the electioneering process which almost coincided with the voting process the IWD was only observed in the provincial headquarters towns. She maintained that the overall objective of this year’s IWD is to reflect on progress, challenges and way forward for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, to establish rural women network in chiefdoms and the launching of rural women network to promote the advancement of rural women, to engage rural and urban activists to design programmes and activities that will contribute to transforming women’s lives and to support community engagement process as part of popularizing SDGs and addressing gender-based violence in communities.
However, she encourages women to strive hard to support themselves in whatever they are doing. As a ministry she said, they will always ensure that they work in the interest of women empowerment and promotion and will endeavor to make women take their rightful place in society.
Chief Social Service Officer MSWGCA, Joseph Sunday Sinnah explained that the ministry had been celebrating this day by hosting several activities but they were unable to do so due to the electioneering process. Notwithstanding that he said, they were able to engage hundreds of women from various communities in order to deliberate on the theme. He assured that the ministry is doing all it can to ensure that the rural women network project come to pass.
Deputy Chief Social Service Officer Mariatu Bangura encourage women to take the commemoration seriously as it is the only day set aside for them to strategize and plan for their feature. She maintained that the IWD celebration always give women the confidence to speak out their minds and come up with a position paper that the government should look into.