Gender Equality in Sierra Leone

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Flag of Sierra_Leone
Population (in Mil.) 5.98
Gross Domestic Product (In USD Billions - WB) 3.53
Sex Ratio (m/f) 0.94
Life Expectancy Ratio (f/m) 1
Fertility Rate 4.94
Estimated Earned Income (f/m)
Tertiary Enrolment Ratio (f/m) 2.1
Women in Parliament (in %) 12.4
Human Development Index 177/187
Social Institutions and Gender Index 66/86
Gender Inequality Index 177/186
Gender Equity Index 135/168
Women’s Economic Opportunity Index /128
Global Gender Gap Index /68
More information on variables

Social Institutions

The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) measures gender-based discrimination in social norms, practices and laws across 160 countries. The SIGI comprises country profiles, a classification of countries and a database; it serves as a research, policy and advocacy tool for the development community and policy makers.

The SIGI covers five dimensions of discriminatory social institutions, spanning major socio-economic areas that affect women’s lives: discriminatory family code, restricted physical integrity, son bias, restricted resources and assets, and restricted civil liberties. The SIGI’s variables quantify discriminatory social institutions such as unequal inheritance rights, early marriage, violence against women, and unequal land and property rights.

In the 2014 edition of the SIGI, Sierra Leone has very high levels of discrimination against women in social institutions. It has lower discrimination in son bias and higher discrimination in restricted physical integrity. Read the full country profile and access the data here:

The Africa for Women's Rights Campaign


Key facts

  • CEDAW: ratified in 1998
  • CEDAW Protocol: signed in 2000
  • Maputo Protocol: signed in 2003

The Campaign

On 8 March 2009 the "Africa for Women's Rights" Campaign was launched at the initiative of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in collaboration with fove non-governmental regional organisations: the African Center for Democracy and Human Rights Studies(ACDHRS), Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF) and Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA). These organisations make up the Steering Committee responsible for the coordination of the Campaign.

The Campaign aims to put an end to discrimination and violence against women in Africa, calling on states to ratify international and regional instruments protecting women's rights, to repeal all discriminatory laws, to adopt laws protecting the rights of women and to take all necessary measures to wensure their effective implementation.

Country Focus: Sierra Leone

While Sierra Leone has ratified the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) without reservations, it has not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to CEDAW and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).

The Coalition of the Campaign remains particularly concerned by the following violations of women’s rights in Sierra Leone: the persistence of discriminatory laws; violence against women; unequal status in marriage, family, and inheritance; unequal access to education, employment, decision-making, and property; and lack of access to health services. Read more


  • Focal Point: FAWE
  • Recommendations of the CEDAW Committee, June 2007
  • CEDAW NGO Coalition Shadow Report to the CEDAW Committee, May 2007

External Links

Case Studies

Progress Assessment of MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

Millennium Development Goal #3 is divided into three sub-categories, each of them focusing on different areas: education, employment wage and political power.

MDG Tracking Index of Sierra Leone-2010

Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education

Female gross enrolment at primary level rose from 68% in 1990 to 107% in 2004[1]. The combined ratio of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education was at 0.84 in 2008[2]. In 2004, it was at 1.01 in primary schooling and 0.78 for the secondary level. Thd massive increase in the attendance of girls in Sierra Leone-which was a war-torn country 10 years ago- is a result of the affirmative action of the government to allow every girl child to go to school. Primary education school fees for all children were abolished in 2001 and in 2003, full support was provided for all girls entering the Junior Secondary School in the Eastern and Northern Regions because these regions were recording low numbers in attendance[3].

Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector

The share of women in the non-agricultural employment sector is still low despite the fact that significant progress is being made to improve the situation."In 2001, the proportion of women in non-agricultural employment was 7.5 percent (MDG Report, 2005). There was significant increase to 23.2 percent in 2005 (World Bank, 2009)" [4]. Traditional barrier and customs remains still an obstacle to the economic empowerment of Sierra-Leonese women. Furthermore, datas show that the marital status of women have a correlation with their employment in the non-agricultural sector. Indeed, about 80% of Sierra Leone's married, divorced and widowed women were likelier to be employed in 2008. The percentage of employment of the unmarried ones in the non-agricultural sector was during the same year at 40%.

Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament

15.5% of the seats in the National Parliament of Sierra Leone were held by women in 2007[5]. This percentage decreased to 13% the following year[6]. Equitable political representation of women remains still a challenge in Sierra-Leone. Sierra-Leone doesn't seem to follow the trend of post-conflicts african countries such as Liberia and Burundi which have a high representation of women in the decision-making offices.

Overall, MDGTrack Global Index for Sierra Leone is at 20% and the country is deemed as off track[7]


  1. UNDP Sierra Leone. MDGs in Sierra Leone. Goal 3
  2. UNDP. Sierra Leone.MDG Country Report 2010
  3. UNDP. Sierra Leone.MDG Country Report 2010
  4. MDG Report 2010. Page 27.
  5. MDG Track Monitor. World Map. Sierra Leone
  6. MDG Report 2010.27
  7. MDGTrack Global Index. Sierra-Leone

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