A gender parity bill, representing the interest of women in the country, is currently before the Liberian Legislature awaiting passage into law. Among others, the bill, when passed into law by Legislature, will ensure that there is 30% representation of women in the Legislature- a demand presently being pursued by women, even though some continue to be very apprehensive about such quest.
In support of the campaign, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf continues to emphasized solidarity towards this effort, but from a different perspective- one based on principles and not sentiments as harbored by most of the ‘advocates’ of this gender parity. Of late, Senator Jewel Howard Taylor of Bong County has taken to the airwaves on the issue, but from a sentimental perspective.
Just recently, Senator Taylor, on a local radio talk show in Paynesville City, solicited President Sirleaf’s support to her quest for re-election come October 2014- an issue that has attracted reactions that may be inimical to her success. In her demand, the Bong County Senator warned the Liberian Leader against giving support only to “Unity Party females candidates,” stressing that such support must be across-the-broad for all female candidates. While Senator Taylor may have her right to advance such proposal, she sounds equally unfair to the President by drawing her into a situational politics that may raised eye-brows at her own position on the issue of women’s representation, not only at the Legislature, but at all levels of government.
Moreover, the issue of women’s participation at all levels of our governance process must be on the basis of equity, i.e, ‘what men can do, women, too, can do,’ and not on “milk and honey” sentiments as being advanced by a few of the women, including the Senator- no, no, that’s not the thinking of the President, and let no one mix her up in this kind of lazy advocacy.
Senator Taylor has had about nine years now with the people of Bong County to justify her re-election, and if she did not build her relationship with them for confidence and re-election, LET HER AND OTHERS LEAVE THE PRESIDENT ALONE. As a women, Jewel stood up to the challenge-she went to school and learned as a Banker and a Lawyer; and so in this advocacy for women participation, the younger ones after her and other advocates must be encouraged to learn at all levels of professionalism so as to challenge their male counterparts.
But to demand 30% as emphasized by the Gender Parity Bill and solicit the support of Madam President for women candidates in the upcoming Special Senatorial Election, we think are unfair to good governance and Madam President herself, owing to her respective roles in Liberia’s governance politics and process, including the Presidency she now occupies.