By Olusegun A. Ogundeji – The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone has launched a gender policy which emanated from the need to create an environment within the institution and countrywide that allows for the promotion of gender sensitive practices and policies.
According to the Vice Chair of the HRC, Commissioner Yasmin Jusu- Sheriff, it was incumbent on the Commission to take an introspective look at its policies with a view to put mechanisms in place for redressing the structural barriers that constrain women from enjoying their political, social and economic rights.
‘’As an independent body set up by Government to champion the human rights of citizens in Sierra Leone, we thought it fit that our operations should be informed by gender policies. This would serve as a galvanizing effort to pursue and monitor acceptable human rights standards, especially with regard to putting women at par with men at all levels of development,’’ Jusu-Sheriff said.
The rationale for a gender policy is to devise methods for a holistic approach to the empowerment of men and women, adopting a gender policy would ensure that the human rights needs of women are guaranteed. It has been proven that women’s needs are different from those of men by assignment and actions of the different roles they play in society.
Furthermore, men and women have different access to and control over resources to perform these roles; therefore gender policies would have the effect of taking on board the needs of all as it would ensure full integration and mainstreaming of the human rights of women and men.
However, the policy would ensure that issues pertaining to the human rights of women and men are actively considered, implemented and monitored at all stages of the commission’s work.