When the Sierra Leone civil war was declared over in January 2002, the concept of women’s empowerment was firmly entrenched in development discourse and practice. The aftermath of the brutalities of rape, gang rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy, abduction, among other atrocities that women and children, especially girls, were subjected to during Sierra Leone’s eleven years’ civil war was firmly on the post-war agenda. There was a groundswell of protest from women’s NGOs and activists demanding the protection and promotion of women’s rights as part of peace negotiations, post-conflict reconstruction and peace consolidation processes.
Sierra Leone’s reconstruction and peace consolidation policies and programmes have been pursued within a post-conflict peace-building framework. Within this framework, women and gender issues have been articulated through a series of UN Security Council resolutions. However, while this framework has a transformatory edge, it does not go far enough to ensure women’s empowerment. As this chapter explores, its application in post-conflict Sierra Leone is disjointed and full of loopholes that can be used to roll back whatever gains women have achieved.