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COMMENTS & OPINIONS  

Bravo to Sierra Leone Women - Commentary by New Citizen Newspaper
By Samuel B. Conteh
Apr 2, 2009, 17:25
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REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE NEW CITIZEN

Bravo Salone Women!
An Editorial from Samuel B. Conteh (Editor, New Citizen Newspaper)
 
The Women of Sierra Leone continue to make an impact in the world of agriculture, politics, commerce and education.

From time immemorial, the women of Sierra Leone have been the bread winners of their families in various ways.

As farmers or farmhands, the women of Sierra Leone have assumed leadership positions in the farming communities of Sierra Leone, on their own or side by side with their husbands or in collaboration with other women. Even where women did not own their own farms, they provided the support that sustained the momentum of farming activities, many of them doing what men could do and sometimes doing it even better.

The upward spiral in the spiritual and material advancement of women is evidently on the rise and from all indications, it is set to continue.

In tiny Gambia, women have made such impressive leaps that more than half of the cabinet of President Yayah Jammeh is women, including the Vice President and the Speaker of the General Assembly.

And here in Sierra Leone what Justice Agnes Macaulay started in the early sixties, when she was elevated to the position of Magistrate of Court No. 1, continues today.

Many other women in the field of Law have achieved impressive positions and now we have a woman as Chief Justice of Sierra Leone in the distinguished person of Umu Hawa Tejan-Jalloh.

We remember with respect the impressive role Mrs. Laura Marcus-Jones played during the transitional period following the coming to power of the NPRC regime of Captain Valentine Strasser as head of one of the commissions of enquiry.

In the arena of commerce, many women have succeeded in Sierra Leone as fish women, as CEOs and Managing Directors holding firm leadership positions in many different areas of human endeavours.

In the police force we have women who have risen to the positions of Assistant Inspector General of Police; the Kadi Fakondohs and the Elizabeth Turays just as we now have a woman Brigadier in the Sierra Leone Armed Forces for the firsts time in the distinguished person of Kestoria O. Kabia. Many others are trailing these women and very soon we shall all rejoice with them more so because they are performing their roles perfectly.

In our media world, we have our own female publisher who is standing much taller than most men in the profession. Our own woman of the media has gone beyond being a publisher; she is now editing her own paper, taking the little credit there in and standing up to the risks of the game of journalism. Dr. Sylvia Jollimina Olayinka Blyden is our example of female resilience in journalism and she is not yet reached the top and continues to lash out as a business tycoon especially in the information highway, spreading out aggressive tentacles in all directions. Women employers are very few in Sierra Leone and one of them is Sylvia Olayinka Blyden; in her newspaper and her internet cafes. It seems to many that even the sky is not the limit for this giant of women.

Women are still searching for a way to secure 30% membership of the Sierra Leone Parliament. The have not yet succeeded but they are consolidating their positions as serious contenders for leadership positions. There is no turning back, it seems.

They now have a Female Parliamentarian Caucus in Sierra Leone, a formidable base from which to spring surprises and upsets in the future contests for power. And for good measure, one of them is now heading an organization referred to as ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association. Mrs. Victoria Saidu Kamara is that woman.

Recently, Mrs. Elizabeth Alpha Lavalie was the Deputy Speaker of our Parliament and acted many times as Speaker.

Look at the current Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Honourable, Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura, who headed the Campaign for Good Governance (CGG of Sierra Leone) before she went on to contest for the Presidency of Sierra Leone. She failed but the record of that achievement still tickles the fertile imagination. She too has served in a very high capacity at the much vaunted United Nations as an international civil servant before she returned to Sierra Leone to serve as Foreign Minister.

And in religion, one can identify dozens of Sister Dora Dumbuyas who have contributed immensely to the spiritual and material growth of the nation.

There are female doctors who are faithfully defending health and saving lives on a grand scale. And the same can be said of female lawyers and judges as mentioned earlier.

The examples of female successes are too numerous to mention here. We rejoice with you all.

REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION FROM NEW CITIZEN NEWSPAPER


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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