The First Lady of Sierra Leone has called on the African continent to empower more women to achieve development.
Fatima Maada Bio speaking during the MEDays 2019 international forum in Tangier,Morocco challenged political leaders, business leaders, community leaders, and policy-makers in Africa to efficiently address the urgent need to prioritize women throughout the continent.
She has long been an advocate for women’s rights and empowerment in Sierra Leone, and she attended the round-table as the guest of honor.
The First Lady outlined the primary concerns that African leaders must address.
“The first concern is with physical and legal protection,” she began. “We have a duty of care to ensure that our women and girls are protected from child marriage, from sexual exploitation, from rape, and from sexual violence.”
She lauded her husband, Julius Maada Bio, the current President of Sierra Leone, for standing up for women in their country and for empowering her to initiate programs that support the women of Sierra Leone.
The President and First Lady of Sierra Leone launched the “Hands Off Our Girls” campaign in December 2018. The project’s goal is to eliminate rape, teenage pregnancy, and all forms of abuse against women and girls.
“With that program, us women in Sierra Leone can smile knowing full well we have a leader that believes in women’s empowerment and is ready to work with us women,” she said.
She then called upon Africa’s political leaders and policymakers to take advantage of their capacity to change mindsets and cultural attitudes by enacting legal protections for women and girls.