Women urged to take 50% of 2017 seats

Nov 6, 2015

Women Legislative Caucus' members in group session

Women of Liberia have been urged to clinch at least fifty percent (50%) of the seventy-three seats in the National Legislative come 2017 general and presidential elections.

Former Montserrado County district #1 Representative and Chairperson of the Women Legislative Caucus of Liberia (WLCL) in the 52nd National Legislature now Advisor, Josephine George-Francis, said women of Liberia should use every opportunity given them to propel themselves to higher levels.

 

“Given our new constitution that will be coming into force, women must now begin engaging our male lawmakers and other stakeholders on affirmative actions for women” Francis said.

She noted that Liberia is in a new dispensation, where women can use their voices, as their participation cuts across all lines.

 

The WLCL Advisor emphasized that the more women ascend to leadership positions, especially at the Legislature, the easier it will be to address issues related to women.

 

“Let’s stop the blame game, and work along with our male counterparts towards achieving our much-desired goal of gender equality.

 

"The ball is in our court and we have to be armed with the necessary tools to speak out and make changes” Madame Francis stressed.

 

Madam Francis was speaking at a two-day capacity building training session under the theme: “Strengthening Women’s Capacities (in advocacy, negotiation & communication skills) to Engage Lawmakers, Political Parties on Gender Parity & Quotas” in Monrovia.

 

With funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the two-day training and coaching session was intended to build the human resource development capacity of women through knowledge-based skills training,  to ensure that women are empowered to enhance their potentials to fairly compete in all open electoral processes.

 

It brought together about fifty women from a cross section of the society including present and past female Legislators, female political parties’ executives, female heads of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CBOs) among others.

 

Bong County Senator and current Chairperson of the Women Legislative Caucus of Liberia (WLCL), Jewel Howard-Taylor made a presentation on the “State of Women Political Leadership in Liberia”. Senator Taylor said there have been a dramatic decline in women’s representation at all levels of the country’s governance structures.

 

“As women of Liberia, we have taken notice of the sharp decline in women representation at all levels of governance structures. This situation is one of which should claim the attention of all well-meaning Liberians; but must claim our most urgent attention as women. Your presence here today is proof that this is a priority on the women’s agenda” Senator Taylor noted.

 

According to her, the state of women political leadership in Liberia today has declined from 14% to 9% in the Legislature, 5% in the executive, and about 3% in the Judiciary, adding that the percentage of women in Parliament is too small to make the kind of impact needed.

 

Senator Taylor also mentioned that at the hierarchy In political parties, there are only two women who are heads of the 22 registered political parties, with very few in executive positions; while in local government  women representation is put at about 3%, and as heads of public corporations, 0%.

 

“This sharp decline must be reversed if women’s agenda is to be realized. To do so, all of us as women of Liberia – without any thought to political parties’ structures or personal hurts or disappointments, must close ranks and work for the general welfare of women”, the Bong County Senator said.

 

Also speaking, Montserrado County District #9 Representative Munah Pelham-Youngblood said 78% of the country’s population is less than 35years; but despite the country’s youthful statistics, youth and women of Liberia are always relegated.

 

Rep. Youngblood said the young people of the country are endowed with abundant energy and enthusiasm that could bring fresh ideas to the table.

 

“The young people can be agents of change through reading and workshops (as we are here today) to improve on their leadership skills, bringing them closer and educating them on issues; get them involved in negotiations and advocacy to avoid violence” Youngblood intimated.

Contact

For more information, Contact;

Karbo, Hannah- National Gender Analyst/ Tel: +231 /770103602- E-mail:-hannah.karbo@undp.org

Augusta Pshorr –Communications Analyst E-mail: augusta.pshorr@undp.org Tel: +231-770-003-819/886-521-425

Sam Zota –National UNV Communications Associate Email: sam.zota@undp.org/zotasam@gmail.com Tel: +231-886-474-563/770175162

 

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