Liberia: Stakeholder Brainstorm for Increased Women’s Political Participation, Others

Monrovia — As a means of addressing the ills of marginalization, stigmatization and other negative vices faced by women in society, stakeholders at one-day forum have brainstormed on several steps geared to promote their (women) increased political participation, public life and peace-building mechanisms.

The inception meeting was organized by medica Liberia (mL) in collaboration with Progress and Opportunities for Women’s Empowerment and Rights-Liberia (POWER-Liberia) on Thursday, September 15, 2022. The meeting marked the kick-off of the project titled: “Promoting political participation and elimination of violence against women in politics” with funding from UN Women through the UN Peace Building Funds.

The meeting brought together several female aspirants in the ensuing 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections and women at the helm of national decision making as well as stakeholders working in the promotion of gender equality.

Speaking at the start of the forum held at the Belle Casa Hotel in Monrovia, the Country Director of mL, Atty. Yah Vallah Parwon, named some of the hurdles that affect women as social norms, limited access to resources, violence against women in politics and stigmas that affect their ability to stay in national decision making.

But in an effort to avert these challenges and forge forward with their males’ counterpart, the medica Liberia boss wants women of all walks of life to support each other’s effort in whatever way they can.

“One of the barriers is violence against women in politics, and we also do not think about this as a specific thing. When we heard that Senator Botoe Kanneh was being attacked during her campaign, it appeared that it was just mere politics that anyone can be attacked. Not many saw it from that gender lens – not many saw it as violence against a woman in politics,” the mL country head pointed out.

She hoped and prayed that the UN Women sponsored project will contribute meaningfully to raising the visibility around the issues affecting women in politics.

Atty. Parwon vowed medica Liberia’s commitment to work with key stakeholders including the Coalition of Political Parties’ Women in Liberia (COPPWIL) to ensure that women make advances in politics and in public life.

“As the elections are drawing nearer, our role is to ensure how to work together so that those barriers affecting women’s participation are limited,” the mL boss added.

Giving an overview of the project, Madam Beatrice Newland, Director of POWER-Liberia, explained that the initiative aims to advance active citizenship in formal and informal education by raising awareness of rights and responsibilities.

She said this will also make citizens to understand the systems of power in order to be able to organize and advocate for their rights through collective actions.

Under the peace-building component, Madam Newland narrated that mL and POWER-Liberia will raise consciousness on the root causes of conflict in Liberia and promote reconciliation and peaceful coexistence.

“We will work with political parties including the women’s league for gender responsive parties that enable women to participate more meaningfully following up on collaborations with NDI and their support to political parties. We will also hold series of media engagements on broadcasting the work of gender-responsive political parties that will be an incentive to other parties,” she noted.

Mr. Trokon Bryant, Program Analyst at UN Women, pledged his institution’s unflinching support to the operations of mL.

“There is no doubt that you are one of our many partners that can deliver. We expect to see a lot of collaboration and coordination with medica. We are always going to be there to support. We also hope to see more coordination between you and other partners that are within the UN Women like what we are seeing here today,” Bryant told the implementers.

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