Success: Pregnant Girls No Longer Banned From Schools

Target: David Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education

Goal: Praise the end of Sierra Leone’s ban on pregnant girls attending school.

Sierra Leone has lifted its ban on pregnant girls attending school. Once the schools re-open after the COVID-19 scare is over, they will grant these girls and young women the right to a formal education after ten long years of discrimination and stigmatization.

This is a major cause for celebration. For decades, many African countries have sworn by sexist practices and laws that rob girls and women of their dignity, agency, and basic human rights. Africa has overall one of the largest teen pregnancy rates in the world, and these girls were blamed and shamed for their situations regardless of how they became pregnant-even if it was the result of a rape. Petitions such as this one circulated demanding schools stop exiling these girls, who are just as human and have just as much of a right to an education as anyone.

This overturning of the ban in Sierra Leone is a much needed step in the right direction for the rights of women and girls in Africa. Sign this petition to thank the country for this decision.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Sengeh,

Your decision to allow pregnant girls to attend school again is highly commendable. The years-long ban was cruel and unjust as it shamed and blamed these girls for their situations, refusing them their right to an education based on circumstances usually beyond their control.

Too many African countries subject girls and women to discriminatory laws and practices, treating them as lesser beings based on their gender. Girls are denied the chance to become more than wives and mothers, subjected to rape and abuse, and reminded on a daily basis that they matter less than their male counterparts. In allowing pregnant girls to receive an education, you are taking an important step in increasing women’s rights. Thank you for lifting such an unfair ban after so long.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: USAID Africa Bureau




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209 Signatures

  • Teresa Canode
  • Evan Mehrman
  • robin karlsson
  • Sandra Dorst
  • Cynthia Roberson
  • Karen Shaw
  • Jordan Glass
  • Kristine Kennedy
  • Elizabeth Marino
  • Valerie Philebaum Smith
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