|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||Women Gender Discrimination Sexual abuse|
Gender inequality involves allowing of people different opportunities owing to the perceived differences based on gender issues, thus informing an individual's prejudicial treatment generally about women. It acknowledges that men and women are not equal and affect the lived experiences of an individual owing to the arising differences in socially constructed gender roles coupled with biology through chromosomes, the brain structure, and the differences in hormones. Sierra Leone faces huge problems concerning women, thus informing gender inequality. The primary difficulties include and not limited to various forms of sexual violence like rape, sexual assaults, marital rape, school-related sexual abuse, and female genital mutilations and challenges of economic independence like high illiteracy levels, lack of confidence to vie for official positions and employment inequalities. The women's voices in Sierra Leone are often ignored and drawn out by the resistance of conservative religious groups coupled with the government's reluctance to implement effective favorable laws on gender equality. Women in Sierra Leone, therefore, face immense economic, social, and political challenges, thus informing the gender inequality in the country.
Gender inequality was compounded by the 1902-202 civil war coupled with the struggle for natural resources leaving over 50,000 people dead (Diffner,2017). Sierra Leone has been popularly known for violence against women like sexual slavery, rape, and forced marriages. Besides, their women are globally recognized as the most socially, politically, and culturally marginalized. The country's history of gender violence stems from colonialism effects coupled with the patriarchal nature of the social structure of the nation. The colonization saw women holding prominent political positions and other positions of power that drastically reduced their abilities to be influential societal members. The structures of the family and the rights of property are patrilineal, thus informing the women's dependence on their husbands and male family members for sustainable. The women with no ties with male family members and not married are very vulnerable with the widows struggling to make ends meet, most of whom were left after the deaths of their husbands in civil wars.
Implications of Sierra Leone's Gender Inequality to the Nation's Development
Gender inequality has presented significant consequences in the development of the nation stemming from gender-based violence, education, harmful transitional practices, teenage pregnancies, HIV/AIDS. Maternal mortality, family planning, employment, and income-earning and political representation. Most Sierra Leone women are illiterate as compared to men with a presenting with an evidenced statistics of 37.7% women literacy to 58.7% of men's literacy rates (Country at Glance). The enrolment of females in schools has dropped owing to the increased intensity of schooling and lower rates of transitions from primary to secondary. That has been evidenced by a higher attendance of women in primary schools at 99%, and a consequent drop to 37% in the secondary school enrolment in secondary schools, a figure that almost disappears at the tertiary lees, which indicates 1% enrolment (Country at Glance).
In the employment realms, women constitute 27% of paid employees of the sector and registering 57% in the informal economy (Braima&Turay, 2018). Sierra Leone's population engaged in the agricultural labor force amounts to 64.9% resulting in 40% of the GDP (Kampillo, 2011). Women are depicted to represent 33% in the farming labor as men represent 30%, thus underscoring women's maximization of energy in non-remunerated work with a small representation of women in senior position occupying 13% as compared to men who employ 87%(Kampillo, 2011). Additionally, most women work in the informal sectors that lack the protections of society and are vulnerable to exploitation.
In terms of the election. Women's win in 2002 saw a triumph of 14.2% of the seats in parliament, with 16.7% of mayors, 66.7% deputy mayors and 7% of chairpersons, and 19.1% councilors elected (Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs). Women face more significant barriers in entering the political spheres owing to the male formulated political networks, financing the campaigns in elections, and in commanding respect hence their vulnerabilities in experience political genders slanders like the questioning of their morals. Additionally, girls and women are less likely to experience political socialization from an early age as compared to boys and men.
Similarly, girls and women have low negotiation powers to sex and condom use hence informing their vulnerability to HIV and AIDS. Women in prevalence to HV/AIDS between the ages of 15-49 represents 1.7% as compared to 1.2% in men (Campillo, 2011). There are higher risks of HIV infection on women at a younger age, with the prevalence of 1.5% of women of the ages between 15-24 as compared to men of the same bracket. Women between the ages of 30-34 present the highest vulnerability and the widows owing to their insufficient knowledge about the pandemic and higher dependence of support from men who sexually exploit them (Campillo, 2011).
Current Policies in Addressing Gender Inequality in Sierra Leone
There exist national policies and legal gender frameworks formulated in the quest to address Sierra Leone's Gender inequality. That has been seen through the country's ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which is a treaty of the International Human Rights aimed at protecting women's rights. The agenda for change underscores gender as a priority. The Government has committed itself to the institution of women's 30% quota in all elective and appointed positions (Campillo, 2011). Similarly, the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS were enacted by the government in 2007 to help in the protection and promotion of the rights of women and children.
Proposed Policies in Addressing Gender Inequality in Sierra Leone
There has been a regulatory proposal on national action plans on the resolutions of the security councils on the peace of women and security, coupled with sexual violence. The above plans' implementations are still constrained as no review has yet taken place. The nation's government, through the agenda proposed for prosperity, has initiated gender equality and women empowerment actions that include the legislative reforms and policies. The policies which are twin underlie the National Policy on the Advancement of Women and the National Policy on the Gender Mainstreaming are being reviewed currently and to be merged as one. The challenge in the policy implementation is the ineffectiveness of the ministry of social welfare in carrying out his mandates owing to high senior staff turnover, coupled with the weak human resource and the capacity of the institution.
Outcomes of the Policy of the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS in Serra Leon's Gender Inequality
The ministry of health and education has implemented raft HIV transformative programs that have prevented the barriers of girls and women from receiving services, coupled with keeping girls in schools and providing sexuality education and elimination of female genital mutilation. Additionally, the National AIDS Secretariat, since its inception in 2002, has supported the ministries in AIDS sensitization through seminars and spearheading the technocrats in the departments in showing commitment towards the prevalence of the pandemic in women and girls.
Women in Sierra Leone were able to confront the civil are challenges through their increased participation in the political space, albeit not using their women's agenda for their empowerment and equality. That has informed the increased gender inequality in Sierra Leone stemming from education, political sphere, employment sectors, and gender-based violence, among others. However, there have been various policy implementations by the relevant stakeholders in the quest of empowering women and preventing women's violence, some of which are yet to be implemented while some have seen success like the Human Rights Commission in protecting the rights of women.
Borishansky, M. (2019).Examining Gender Inequality in the Post-Conflict Peace Building Efforts in Sierra Leone. Beyond Intractability. Retrieved fromhttps://www.beyondintractability.com
Braima, S. & Turay, S. (2018).Sierra Leone 2015 Population and Housing Census. StatisticsSierra Leone. Retrieved from https://www.statistics.sl/images/statisticsSL
Campillo, L. (2011).Gender Analysis of the Situation of Women and Children in SierraLeone.UNICEF Policies and Approaches. Retrieved fromhttps:www.hunamitarianresponses.info.
Deffner, H. (2017).The Issue of Gender -Women's Roles in Sierra Leone's Civil War (19912002).Research Gate. Retrieved from https://www.resesrchgate.net
Ministry of Social Welfare. Gender and Children's Affairs (2014).Country Report by Sierra Leone on Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (1995) and the Outcome of the 23rd Special Session of the General Assembly (2000).Sustainable Development.Retrievedfromhttps://www.sustainsbldevelopment.un.org/content/document/13190
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