The rights of women to enter into contracts in Sierra Leone do not appear to be different from men’s rights, at least as it is related to General Law. This may be due to Section 27 of the Constitution which protects women by prohibiting any law which is discriminatory either by its language or in its effect, and prohibits discriminatory treatment by virtue of any law or in the performance of the functions of any public authority (the “equality” provision). The Constitution, under Section 171(15) firmly establishes that the Constitution is the supreme law in Sierra Leone and thus any law found inconsistent with an of its provisions, including Section 27, will be declared to be void and of no effect to the extent of any inconsistency with the Constitution.
Article 15 of the Constitution further protects the right for both men and women to the “enjoyment of property” and protects citizens from deprivation of property. In addition, the right of married women to contract in the same way as men is explicitly protected in the Married Women Property Act of 1882.
Other rights that may implicate women’s right to contract are also protected under the Constitution. For example, a woman’s right to travel is protected in Article 18 and women are allowed to register businesses in the same way as men.
Ultimately, however, Sierra Leone has a pluralistic system and it is unclear how these Constitutional and other legal protections in General Law affect the rights of women in practice. It is also unclear how the contract rights in General Law relate to the rights of women under traditional sources of law such as customary law. Further research on this area is necessary.