The International Women's day is celebrated on the 8th March every year. Millions around the world set aside that day to create awareness on women's and gender issues, and celebrate women.
The British High Commission in Freetown with partners commemorated this year's International Women's Day by creating a platform for young women to interact with influential Sierra Leonean women to inspire them to participate in leadership and governance in Sierra Leone. The one day seminar featured women from government ministries, International developmental organizations, NGO's and Women's Groups, to share their stories on their leadership journey and help inspire the next generation of female leaders in Sierra Leone under the theme: "Better the Balance, Better the world: Championing Gender Equality at every opportunity and Inspiring young women to play an active role in leadership and decision making"
In his opening statement, Guy Warrington, the British High Commissioner said:
"In Sierra Leone we are committed to working with the government and the international community to empower women and adolescent girls to take control of their lives with access to family planning, education and greater livelihood opportunities. We want to ensure that no girl is left behind, and can work towards a brighter, fairer future for themselves, their families and their country"
"Gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women are fundamental to building prosperous, resilient economies, peaceful and stable societies and delivering lasting outcomes across the sustainable development goals"
"The positive relationship between gender equality and economic and human development is clear. If women had the same role in labour markets as men, an estimated 28 trillion US dollars could be added to global GDP by 2025"
Dr. Pricilla Schwartz, Attorney General and Minister of Justice who was the key note speaker at the Seminar said:
"The significant of this day is to celebrate the contribution and sacrifice of selfless women who are working tirelessly to end all forms of violence against women - We need the better the balance to improve on gender equality - Leadership should be an individual challenge for women and girls"
The Country Representative for the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, Joe Pemagbi said
"The celebration of International Women's day is a reminder for everyone to respect women and also a reminder of the achievement that the country has made in supporting women. As a nation, there have been some progress but we have to do more to promote women in politics and also girls education in Sierra Leone"
The seminar attracted young women, female leaders in entrepreneurship and governance and representatives from International and Civil Society Organisations in Sierra Leone.