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50/50 Group Sierra Leone hosts National Dialogue on Post-Election Gender Audit Findings

April 22, 2024 • By Alfred Fornah
Group photo of participants at the National Level Dialogue with 50/50 Group Sierra Leone.

On 22 April 2024, the 50/50 Group Sierra Leone, with support from International IDEA held a National Level Dialogue to share findings from a post-election gender audit conducted on the 2023 elections. 

The event brought together a diverse array of stakeholders, including women political leaders, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Election Management Bodies (EMBs), international partners, and political parties leadership, to reflect on the findings and recommendations and to map out next steps in advancing women's political representation.

In her statement, Professor Fredline M’Cormack-Hale, President of the 50/50 Group of Sierra Leone, expressed gratitude to International IDEA for their support and to the EU for funding the initiative. She stated: "Thanks to International IDEA for their support and the EU for funding this initiative. We appreciate International IDEA's partnership and hope it will continue." 

Regarding women's political representation, Professor Hale noted: "We have seen a doubling since the 2023 elections. The passage of key acts such as the Political Parties Act, Public Elections Act, and the Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment (GEWE) Act has contributed to this increase. We have now seen an increase of women in political representation in parliament, local councils, cabinet positions, and other key areas." She emphasized the need for ongoing advocacy: "While there is much to celebrate, we cannot rest on our laurels. We must continue our advocacy efforts." Professor Hale stressed the importance of immediate action: "We shouldn't wait until the next election to act. We need to start working now."

Reflecting on the purpose of the gathering, she remarked: "Today, we present the research findings to inform our efforts towards greater women's representation in the next election. So, as the 50/50 Group, let us reflect on what has happened. Let us consider where women stand in relation to the laws that were passed and also discuss any challenges. Let us focus on what actions can be taken so that in the next election, we can achieve gender parity."

Benigna Ejimba, Project Officer for Political Participation and Representation at International IDEA Sierra Leone Country Programme, highlighted the significance of the 50/50 Group as one of IDEA’s major strategic partners under the EU funded Sierra Leone Democracy Strengthening Project. She emphasized that their partnership is centred on inclusive governance, women's political participation, and peacebuilding. Benigna expressed pride in Sierra Leone's recognition as one of the few African countries truly understanding the pivotal role of women in society. She noted that Sierra Leone has surpassed many African nations by not only enacting but also implementing gender laws aimed at promoting and advancing women's participation in politics. However, she stressed the importance of not resting on these achievements.

In collaboration with partners like the 50/50 Group, she emphasized that International IDEA wants to explore avenues for how Sierra Leone can further improve its efforts. One effective approach is to work with the 50/50 Group in evaluating the impact of gender laws like the GEWE and others enacted in past elections. This evaluation, she explained, would serve as a foundation for identifying areas where the nation can enhance its efforts in advancing women's political participation. She underscored the significant benefits of increased female representation in politics, envisioning a world where every woman who is interested in politics and governance processes can participate effectively and freely without any obstacles.

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About the authors

Alfred Fornah
Communications Officer
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