Monrovia – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has urged female candidates to fill the gap and compete with their male counterparts.
She said the policy can only be implemented if collective efforts are applied in every community and county.
Sirleaf said women must canvass as Jehovah witnesses “moving from door to door making sure that women contest, “It’s time that we gathered and support those women that are here and bring in more women to take over the legislature.”
She spoke when several female candidates gathered at the rotunda at the National Legislature to launch the Liberia policy platform 2017.
The policy was created by Liberian women from across the country and from various social, political and economic backgrounds, who came together at a policy conference in December 2016 which was finalized and endorsed.
The policy identified policy recommendations and issues important to Liberian women and families, including empowering women in the economy, fighting for healthy families, bringing about safer communities an increasing women’s political participation.
Sirleaf said candidates and women must look at the problems and strategize solutions in building a competitive society.
She said “We had a good number of women in 2005, but in the few years there have been gaps and we must all work to implement this policy.”
“Not everything can be accomplished by money, there are garbage that can be cleaned, so look in that direction. We as government will play our role, but as candidates tackle those things that do not require money.”
Frances Greaves, steering committee member, named empowering women in the economy, healthy families, safer communities, political participation.
She said strengthening Liberia’s economy, more men and women in Liberia need growing businesses, growing food, making good wages and reinvesting.
Madam Greaves said there’s need to give adult women, especially those who dropped out of school, the skills they need to compete in the workforce, such as adult literacy classes and technical vocational training.
“Healthy families, too many of our mothers and sisters die needlessly because proper healthcare wasn’t accessible, this is unacceptable,” Greave’s.
She said safer communities and political participation are top priorities through consultations, surveys, stakeholders outreach among 200 Liberian women activist.
The policy called on the executive branch to make appointments more equal in the executive and judicial branches and to establish a registry of the CVs qualified women potential appointees.
“The LWPP also examines the possibility of getting more women in office through a legal or constitutional measures,” She said.
The Liberia Women’s policy platform named emerging issues such as representation of women in the media, awareness of traditional practice, waste management systems, disposal and recycling.
Mervie Farroe, Deputy Mission Director, USAID applauded the women for the efforts exercised in getting the policy done.
He said the LWPP should be important to the country and not only to the women.
Farroe urged political parties to think critically and act upon the issues as it will improve the country.
“If you work together you will achieve this policy, those who aren’t contesting can also help those who are contesting.”
He also urged female candidates to ensure peaceful election and campaign in the October election.
At the same time, Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe- Sheriff said the passage of the domestic violence act without the inclusion of the FGM portion is a mockery to teen girls who aren’t children of lawmakers.
She said the passage will not deter the women of Liberia standing against the ‘devilish and harmful act”.