“We Need Full Implementation of Laws on Women Rights” Stakeholders Stress at Gender Ministry National Policy Dialogue Platform Launch

By:Laymah Kollie

Congo Town-May 30, 2024: Scores of national Civil Society Actors and local leaders at the launch of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection National Policy Dialogue Platform have expressed disappointment in the implementation of laws meant to protect and empower women and girls in Liberia.

In their plights, the women stressed that many laws have been made in the interest of women but failed in terms of implementation. According to them, even though some of these laws are out in the public but other bills status remain unknown because of the lack of enforcement power from higher authorities.

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, under the Liberia Women Empowerment Project on May 30,2024 officially launched the national policy dialogue platform on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Liberia.

The cross-sectorial dialogue platform launch aims to tackle policy-related constraints hindering gender equality and women’s empowerment in Liberia. Key objectives of the event include driving policy reforms and reviews in thematic areas such as gender-based violence, resilient livelihoods, and climate change adaptation for women.

During the discussion, women leaders, civil society organisations and partners pointed out lack of law enforcement and implementation as major challenges to achieving women equality, empowerment and protection in Liberia.

Madam Loretta Aletha Pope-Kai, Chairperson of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia attributed the challenges in women empowerment to low implementation.

“It is not just enough to have laws on the books but they must also be enforced. We want to say civil society we are here to support that reforms” Madam Pope-Kai said.

At the policy dialogue which set a stage for women to identify problems to bills, reform laws and policy affecting women, also provided a medium for recommendations on ways forward in achieving set objectives on legal reforms for women.

However, Providing an overview of the Liberia Women Empowerment Project at the start of the occasion, the National Project Coordinator, Cllr. Margaret Nigba said the project runs for five (5) years and it is divided into five components.

She added the Liberia Women
Empowerment Project is a US$44.6 million multi-sectorial initiative to address key barriers to gender equality in Liberia which aligns with government priorities on women’s empowerment and sexual and gender-based violence.

Cllr. Nigba also stressed that the project seeks response, while complementing ongoing investments and piloting new initiatives in healthcare, education and SGBV survivor services.
“The overall objective of the project is to improve social and livelihood services for women and rights in targeted communities, foster positive social reforms and strengthen the government’s capacity to advance women and girl’s empowerment, ” she noted.

Also, Minister Gbeme Horace Kollie, who remarked at the dialogue and officially launched the platform stressed her hope for the improvement and protection of women of Liberia through the project.

According to the Minister, Liberia has a lot of policies and laws that are stuck in implementation as such, the Women Empowerment project should serve as a new dawn to fostering equality and protection for all women and girls of Liberia.

“It is my hope that this significant platform will be a building of a journey that define pathway to having inclusive and sustainable policies that drive empowerment, equality and protection for all women and girls in Liberia. At this point I now declare the National policy dialogue of women empowerment officially launched” Gbeme Horace-Kollie

Furthermore, madam Comfort Lamptey then outlined prevention and promotion of women livelihoods as key elements to support Liberian women.

“Prevention is key, promoting livelihood employment for women. The important thing is to see how all of these initiatives can support Liberian women. Congratulations to the Ministry and we look forward to working with you” Madam Lamptey said.

The gathering brought together decision-makers and policymakers, as well as representatives from various sectors, to actively engage in shaping development approaches, regulatory frameworks, and budget allocations related to gender empowerment initiatives, particularly under the Liberia Women Empowerment Project.

Participants included representatives from seven-line ministries, including the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labor, and Ministry of Justice, among others. 
Additionally, stakeholders from National Civil Society Council, International Organizations, Women Groups, Women Legislative Caucus, Traditional Leaders, Liberia Rural Women, and Development Partners (USAID, Irish Aid & Sweden Embassy) are expected to contribute to the dialogue.

The primary goal is to identify, prioritize, and advocate for policy and legal reforms that advance gender equality and women’s empowerment nationwide. Additionally, the dialogue aims to strengthen the leadership role of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in steering the empowerment agenda for women and girls in Liberia.

Meanwhile, national and international partners of Liberia congratulated the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection for the efforts. They pledged their collaborative support to the process.

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