The latest effort that looks in that direction is a UN Women supported project that is being implemented by medica and Liberia (mL) Progress and Opportunities for Women’s Empowerment and Rights-Liberia (POWER-Liberia) in collaboration Coalition of Political Parties’ Women in Liberia (COPPWIL) geared to ensure the realization of the Gender Quota Bill.
The project, under the title: “Promoting Inclusive Political Participation and Elimination of Violence against Women in Politics, aims to discuss political parties’ position on the 30% Gender Quota and other issues regarding support to women’s participation in politics.
At the kick-off of the engagement, the two women rights based organizations met with members of the leadership of the Liberia People’s Party (LPP) to ascertain efforts by the party towards achieving this Bill.
Making brief remarks at the meeting, the Program Lead of POWER Liberia, Madam Josephine G. Urey, informed the party that the project also seeks to address other negative vices against women in politics including violence against women in elections (VAWE) among others.
“Under this project, we are speaking to political parties’ leadership or designated persons on the status of implementation of Gender Quota Bill at the level of each political party. So we are here to know the level of compliance of the parity law at the level of the Liberia People’s Party. This project also seeks to address other issues such as VAWE,” said Madam Urey.
In response to the inquiry, the National Assistant Secretary General, Mr. Amos Y. Ba-tua, affirmed the LPP’s commitment to the full realization of the Bill, noting that the structure and past activities of the party are clear indications of its commitment to the document.
“We strongly believe in the 30 percent gender quota bill, but it’s just that there are some challenges along the way. For instance, a lot of women are still shying away from getting involved into politics and even those that are participating don’t want to come at the full front. However, as a party, we are playing our part by talking to a lot of women to come and join us,” the LPP ASG stated
According to him, the LPP is considering to field more female aspirants at its ensuing convention slated for December.
Though the LPP does not have a written gender policy, Mr. Ba-tua informed stakeholders that it (LPP) has considered women in its leadership structure.
“As I speak to you, two out of six members of our leadership are women one of which is our Vice Chairperson for Women’s Affairs and the other is the Co-Chair for Montserrado County. We have gone out to prioritize women in all of our activities,” he added.
Madam Angel K. Togbay, National Vice Chair for Women’s Affairs, called on women to leave the ‘shelves’ to become key contenders in the political processes, as doing so would mean well for society.
“Our women have the knowledge to take up national positions and to do so, they need to step out of their comfort zones, and we need to support each other,” Madam Togbay noted.
Owing to the cost intenseness of politics, the a former Representative candidate for Electoral District #13 of Montserrado County, stressed the need for support to women in politics in order to compete with their male counterparts.
“We need more women in the House and the Senate because by doing so they will be able to craft more bills in the interest of the larger society,” the LPP executive explained.
Also in remarks, Madam Kou Miamen, Co-Chairlady for Montserrado County, sounded a wakeup call for women to take the front roll in politics.
“We know the issue of money is a big hindrance for women to participate but we need to wake up. Women think the other way all the times and they want to do things that impact society, so it’s good to get involved,” she said.
Madam Martha Ballah, mL Project Lead, said during the course of the project, mL and POWER-Liberia will try as much as possible to engage various political parties to know their level of efforts towards the actualization of the gender parity bill.
Even though low participation of women seems like a behavioral or cultural issue, Madam Ballah joined calls for women to rise up to the occasion in taking up key leadership position.
“We are having these kinds of engagement with the hope that one day there will be more women representations. So, we look forward to a more fruitful engagement,” she among other things stated.
Meanwhile, the engagement continues today, Thursday, November 24, 2022 with the former ruling Unity Party (UP), Alternative National Congress and the All Liberian Party (ALP).