A 10-month-old daughter tied to his back during an online meeting was Sierra Leone’s education minister, the conversation turned to gender roles.
David Moinina Sengeh said he wanted to set an example for other men.
He told said that it was very rare to see a child on a father’s back in his country.
Of course, a picture of a woman with a baby on her back would have barely raised an eyebrow, something which the 33-year-old acknowledges.
“Many women do this daily, but it is so normalised that we don’t talk about it at all. If it was my wife who did it then this would not have been a viral tweet,” he told the Newsday programme from Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, where there is a partial lockdown to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The education minister was in the kitchen at home feeding Peynina when he started taking part in a Zoom meeting. He noticed that she looked sleepy, so decided to tie her on his back in order to carry on with the meeting.
Working from home? How did u join your last zoom call? As Minister, I started my last call feeding my 10 month old, then carried her on my back for the rest of the call. The presentations helped her sleep. I invite you to share with the world how you worked from home as a leader. pic.twitter.com/wrkDwu58B5
— David Moinina Sengeh (@dsengeh) April 28, 2020
This image “forces men to think about themselves, it shows them that it is possible to take care of their child”, Dr Sengeh said.
“I have friends who have never ever changed a diaper and they have several children, and they don’t even understand how that is possible,” he added.
The education minister also wanted to encourage leaders, particularly his male counterparts, to share their family lives. He thinks that it has helped him better understand and empathise with other parents and should lead to better policy making.
The UN’s population fund says that “gender inequality and denial of women’s rights are still prevalent at all levels in Sierra Leonean society”.
Sierra Leone has 124 confirmed cases of coronavirus and has recorded seven deaths from the disease.