Friday 2 December 2016

A happy ending to the sad tale of gender inequality is in our hands

Cherie Blair

Published 07/10/2013 | 05:00

Images from Plan Ireland’s ‘Her Story’ exhibition, which aims to raise awareness of gender discrimination suffered by girls
Images from Plan Ireland’s ‘Her Story’ exhibition, which aims to raise awareness of gender discrimination suffered by girls
Images from Plan Ireland’s ‘Her Story’ exhibition, which aims to raise awareness of gender discrimination suffered by girls
Images from Plan Ireland’s ‘Her Story’ exhibition, which aims to raise awareness of gender discrimination suffered by girls

On a recent visit to Sierra Leone, I spent an afternoon chatting to Frederica in a cafe on a rooftop in Freetown. She was telling me about her dressmaking business, how it's expanding, how it's so successful she's about to hire another six people.

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Her success was not easily achieved. As a girl, she'd always dreamt of running her own fashion and design business, but, in 1995, with Sierra Leone engulfed in civil war, she was forced to flee as a refugee to Nigeria.

She never lost sight of her dream, and when she was eventually able to return home, she took a chance, received some help from a local network and opened a dressmaking shop with just two sewing machines. After a lot of hard work, the business began to succeed.

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