Sierra Leone is rich in natural resources, but women in the country's extractive communities rarely benefit from this wealth. They often suffer high levels of poverty, gender-based violence and exclusion from key decision-making processes.
In recent years, the government of Sierra Leone has enacted several laws, policies and provisions to address gender inequality in the extractive sector, most notably through the revision of the Mines and Minerals Act (2009). But authorities, governing bodies, and policy makers have failed to translate these laws into tangible improvements for women in extractive-affected communities, and barriers still exist for women in Sierra Leone when accessing the labor market.
Local civil society organizations have urged Sierra Leone’s government to do more to turn laws into practice. In Women and Mining in Sierra Leone: Power, Policy and Political Will, a new short film by NRGI, women in mining communities share some of the challenges they face. The film also highlights some of the country’s remarkable women-led initiatives, which are working to transform Sierra Leone’s mining sector—making it more inclusive and safer for women and girls. Their work has contributed to increased awareness on gender-specific issues, which require greater political will to ensure effective implementation of the country’s laws and provision on gender equality.