Laymah Kollie

MONROVIA-WTVNEWS: As part of Celebrations marking the observance of the International Women’s day, the Angie Brooks International Center held a roundtable discussion among women of diverse group to find out key issues undermining women’s representation.

The Women at the roundtable alerted that traditional beliefs and cultural norms are some of the key factors or barriers undermining women’s representation at decision making around the country.

The women noted that currently in Liberia, men are still deciding the political affiliation for their wives and children, thus depriving them (women)girls) the right to independent decision-making.

Liberia is a signatory to International conventions and treaties including CEDAW, the MAPUTU Protocol on the protection of women and girls rights to decision making, but the trunk of work is needed around Political Participation for women.

Women representation at the Legislature accounts for 11%, with nine (9) at the lower house and two (2) at the Liberian Senate.

Fear of women being threatened by their spouses not to make independent decisions, coming from a culture that make women second party in activities and doesn’t respect their presence at places where men sit to make decisions and take actions on certain issues etc were some of the issues coming out of the discussion.

The women also named the lack of financial resources in Elections as a main factor that hinders women involvement in politics. They also pointed out the lack of support towards each other in race, competitions, elections etc. Which many attributed to obeying a particular choice of their spouses. They mentioned that during electionary periods, most women usually take an oath in the presence of their husbands in order to vote his candidate in these elections.

“When I was told by the superintendent of Bong to serve as general town chief for palala town, I got scared and couldn’t sleep, thinking that I’m about to die because it’s of tradition that women can not occupy such position. Town chief Dorris Dolokelen narrated.

Also the Women Chairlady in Todee District Kou Dorkawuo, Martha Nyemah and other women also mentioned fear as barrier facing women invisibility to the national table.

The Round Table discussion which started with a parade of over one thousand women from the Broad street of Monrovia to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was held in commemoration of International Women’s Day(IWD).

Cllr. Dr. Yvette Chesson- Wureh, Establishment Coordinator of ABIC before the start of the discussion urged women to be honest and bold with challenges hindering them from taking lead in impacting the world and fighting for their rights. She assured women that these challenges will be worked on one step at a time by community leaders and Angie Brooks International Centre in order to have higher number of women at national leaderships.

The Round Table discussion brought together women leaders from Bong, Margibi, Lofa and Monsterrado Counties.

In Gbarpolu County 2020 Election case, Botoe Kanneh, the current senator election was greeted by interruption of traditional leaders and or country devil, which forced she and other some of her supporters into hiding till Civil Society Organizations and other groups alarmed for calm.

Botoe is the first ever woman to have been elected as Senator of Gbarpolu County due to its entrenched cultural nature of men’s leadership.

Participants lauded ABIC for the step taken and promised to collectively work with her in having many women voices at top decisions making processes.

Amid the barriers named, Liberian women are still challenging the odds to ensure proper representation for women issues at all levels.

Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC) is an international civil society that promotes Women’s Empowerment; Leadership Development, and International Peace and Security throughout Africa. The Centre actively engages in women’s involvement in peace and security in Liberia.

The Celebration of International Women’s Day commemorates the social, political and economic achievements of women. Women in different parts of the world use this day to come together to celebrate one another and rally for equal treatment and representation.

International Women’s Day, also known as IWD for short, grew out of the labour movement to become an annual event recognised by the United Nations.

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