Over 200 women from across different spectrums of the Liberian society have ended a one-day women forum at the Monrovia City Hall.
The forum, sponsored by a local Liberian women group, called Liberia Feminist Forum highlighted the challenges around women’s access to justice, information and the implications of seeking justice for women, types of family marriage and inheritance, among others.
Speakers at the forum were DeddehKwekwe, Teresa Mugadza, Sussie T. Telleh, Cllr. Deweh Gray, Cllr. Ruth Jappah and Cllr. Abla Williams.
Presenting on the topic: “Marriage Under a Dual Legal System (Traditional and Statutory Weddings), Cllr. Deweh Gray says under the customary law, women are entitled to one third of property acquired.
She discloses that in the case where a child is not legitimate, that child cannot inherit a property. According to Cllr. Gray, if a woman marries a man that has more than one wife, all the married women are entitled to his properties in case he dies.
She notes that any man and woman who live together for over 15 to 20 years, the relationship automatically becomes legal even if they did not get married in court or through traditional ceremony.
In this case, she says the woman is entitled to the man’s property.
She cautions women to be mindful on how they go about trusting men in the process of acquiring land or properties.
According to her, there are cases where women trusted men and they put all the properties in the men’s name instead of the names of both parties.
Also speaking, Sussie T. Telleh of the Women and Children Protection Section at the Liberia National Police (LNP) discloses that any police officer who refuses to his fiancé that bears his child or children will be arrested and prosecuted in keeping with law.
She also emphasizes that men who marry females below the age of 18 will also be held liable and prosecuted because females under 18 are minors.
For her part, Cllr. Ruth Jappah of the Liberia Feminist Forum warns women contemplating on getting marry to ensure that the men they intend to get marry to do not already have marital status.
Cllr. Abla Williams of the Liberia Feminist Forum and the Association of Female Lawyers indicates that any child that is not legal, but previously given a share of property should continue to benefit from any other property that his or her foster father had acquired.
Meanwhile, some of the women expressed gratitude to the organizers of the forum for enlightening their minds to some of the critical issues regarding their rights.
They promised to make use of all that they have learned, saying they will spread the message to their colleagues who did not have the opportunity of participating in the forum.By Emmanuel Mondaye–Edited by Winston W. Parley