By: Jeremiah Sackie Cooper
Margibi-June 7, 2023: The Platform for Dialogue and Peace (P4DP), a local advocacy women group in Kakata, Margibi County is rallying support for the equal representation and participation of women in politics in Liberia.
The women made the call during a three day training aimed at developing and strengthening women advocacies in Margibi County.
The training brought together community women leaders, civil Society organizations, the National Elections Commission Margibi Chapter, the media amongst others.
It was held under the theme: “Enhancing Women leaders’ confidence to effectively contribute to party politics at electoral campaign planning” from June 5, 2023 to June 7, 2023.
The group’s project manager, Deimah Kpar Kyne McCrownsey further explained that the training aimed to rally stakeholders and communities leaders support to enhance the understanding of women in electoral campaign planning and build their capabilities to form and occupy key positions political parties.
Madam McCrownsey said the participation of women in politics remain low in Liberia, something she said the program aims to address.
Women currently occupy 11 of 102 seats in the Legislature thus necessitating the need for more women representation.
2017 Statistics from the National Elections Commission revealed only one female presidential candidate with a voting percentage of 0.8%.
McCrownsey also stressed that the program will restore and build the confidence of women and also close the gap of women participation in electoral processes ahead of the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.
“In past time, the men believe that women do not know about campaign activities and the political strategies during elections period, but through our discussions with them, we have been able to tell them that, women can not only be used as campaign chairlady but rather the chairperson of the campaign“, she said.
The Project Manager Mrs. Deimah Kpar Kyne McCrownsey further stressed that there is a need to develop women leaders with all necessary leadership abilities, and advocacy skills to improve the protection and promotion of women’s rights and participation in politics.
“To train women leaders to actively participate in political activities and to engage in campaign activities as a way to level up in terms of party engagements and having a seat within the hierarchy of the party is at the heart of the Platform for Dialogue and Development”, Mrs. McCrownsey noted.
Facilitating Women’s political participation and representation in the decision making process of Liberia, Margibi County Gender Coordinator Danilette D. Asilton stated that female representation in senior leadership is important as it changes gender stereotypes by providing female role models who become unconsciously associated with traditionally male – oriented, leadership –relevant, agentic qualities.
“We women have been faced with lots of challenges during electioneering periods, including the local, national and international level”.
She encourages women to do away with the traditional practices of political participation and create the corridor for making women voices heard at the highest peak in Liberia and the world.
According to the UN Women, “higher number of women in parliament generally contribute to stronger attention to women’s issues.
Women’s political participation is a fundamental prerequisite for gender equality and genuine democracy. It facilitates women’s direct engagement in public decision – making is a means of ensuring better accountability to women, the UN said.
However, participants of the three days training lauded the Platform for Dialogue and Peace (P4DP) and its partners for their farsightedness in educating women about their roles in advocating for their participation in the political spaces of Liberia.
They at the same time pledged their commitment and support to the P4DP project in changing the narratives of the incompetence of women to hold bigger position in government.
“We want to say a thanks to P4DP for building up our understanding on women issues, and how we can participate in advocacy and strengthen our participation in the decision making process”, they added.
Platform for Dialogue and Peace (P4DP) is a Liberian Peace building NGO involved in research and participatory action activities aimed at strengthening the capacities of state and non – state actors to prevent, manage and transform conflict through collaborative action. P4DP has worked in the fifteen political subdivisions of Liberia. Established out of United Nations and interpeace collaboration in 2006, P4DP became an autonomous Liberian non – governmental organization, since 2012.