Owing to the low percentage of Liberian women in the politics of the nation, Gender Minister Williametta Piso Saydee Tarr has pulled the awareness trigger for a holistic and united approach in combating such “generational barrier”.
This is happening amidst estimated statistics that women dominate the general population of Liberia.
Min. Tarr, in a Thursday, August 12, deliberation at a two-day UN WOMEN sponsored Mock Parliament, revealed that the presence of only eight females at the Liberian House of Representatives and two in the Senate, constituting 10.96% of 103 lawmakers, practically demonstrates less inclusion of women at the political leadership platform.
Though the Minister emphasized that the situation is a global nightmare wherein of 193 States, only four countries have at least 50 percent women in their National Legislature; but pointed out Liberia as one of the nations that must pass and effectuate laws for the accomplishment of needed change regarding female representation.
It is known that Liberia has signed onto and ratified several convention instruments gearing towards inclusiveness and upholding the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, but she asserted that steps taken to actualize those Legal tools are insufficient.
The Mock Parliament organized by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has in representation participants from Sinoe, Margibi, Rivercess, Montserrado and host county Grand Bassa.
It is one of the Liberian government’s approaches via the Gender Ministry in ensuring a guaranteed and inclusive nation, similar forum that would be held in Grand Gedeh, Bong, Nimba and Margibi under a regional counties’ arrangement.
At the “Mock Parliament to promote Women Political Representation” in Buchanan, lawyers and other facilitators were seen presenting on the Electoral Law Reform, Electoral Quotas and the significance of strengthening advocacy and building alliances in addition to parliamentary strategies used in having an instrument passed by Plenary.
According to the organizing body, participants are representatives of County leadership, civil society, political parties and other stakeholders captured under the parliament activities.
It can be recalled in 2016, Liberian women and civil society institutions submitted an Affirmative Action Bill labeled “the Equitable Participation and Representation of 2016 to the National Legislature requesting extra 21 seats exclusively for women, youth and persons with disability, but such Bill was only passed by the Lower House.
Since that period, the Gender Ministry boss confirmed that there have been other legal submissions of Bills, but all did not yield anticipated fruit prior to the Weah-led Administration.
Addressing the issue of Liberia’s political will, Mrs. Tarr acknowledged the Executive Branch preparedness as she disclosed her Ministry’ consistent Legislative and stakeholders engagement plan in securing the unanimous will-power of the lawmaking body by means of passing some of the proposals before it.
The statement of the UN WOMEN Special Representative, Marie Goreth Nizigama, at the Mock Parliament in Buchanan, was a beacon of hope for females.
“I find out today, the evidence is clear that increased women political participation in leadership helps build safer, more inclusive and more stable society;” she said, adding that when women are considered in decision \-making, more inclusive decisions are made, different voices are heard and different solutions are created,” Madam Nizigama claimed, as she disclosed her Institution’ commitment to achieving Gender Equality.
“We believe that the engagements of the Executive Branch through the Ministry of Gender are going to pay dividends in building the social capital for a more robust than a responsive platform for women for leadership standard in Liberia ahead of the 2023 General and Presidential Elections,” the UN WOMEN Special Representative said.
“To shift the paradigm of women’s leadership and to ensure the voices of diverse host of citizens are included in the decision-making process, we need more supportive gender-responsive, legal provisions that domesticate the signed international treaties,” Nizigama emphasized at the two-day Mock Parliament; appreciating stakeholders for intentional steps taken.
Meanwhile, the Canadian government is the financial support base through the UN WOMEN for such initiative being undertaken by the Weah-led Government.