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Liberian women must rise to the challenge

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IT TOOK NO lesser a personality than the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection to call on women here to join political parties and strive to get to the top of party leadership.

MINISTER JULIA DUNCAN-CASSELL stressed that when women occupy key positions in political parties, they will be able to bring women issues to the table and help to sustain the debate.

SHE GAVE THE challenge on Tuesday, 6 December at the Ministry of Gender in Monrovia during the launch of the Liberian Women’s Manifesto 2017, further urging that women should not be satisfied with just heading women wings of political parties, but strive for higher positions, noting that in all of the 22 or more registered political parties in Liberia, no woman is at the top of leadership.

WE CONSIDER THE Minister’s concerns as a wake-up call to women across the country to rise from their slumber, tighten their belts and get to work, if they must occupy political leadership.

HOWEVER, IN NO uncertain term we totally disagree with her when she said the National Elections Commission should be held accountable if political parties failed to include women in their leadership hierarchies.

MINISTER DUNCAN-CASSELL should be aware that power, especially political power, is never given on a silver platter. It must be rigorously competed for and captured in a free and fair contest. If women wanted to occupy party chairmanship, secretary general, standard bearer or vice standard post, they must rally support of fellow partisans, including their male counterparts to achieve such dreams, rather than baby-crying for those offices.

LIBERIAN WOMEN ARE pushing an Affirmative Action Bill, which seeks to allot 15 additional seats in the Legislature exclusively for women. Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor is the mastermind of the bill, which has already been passed by the Liberian Senate, and is awaiting concurrence of the House of Representatives.

THE BILL ALSO requires political parties to include in their ranks and file certain percentage of women as a way of promoting women empowerment. But women should be reminded that power should not be sought just to be occupied. They should desire it for the ultimate objectives to serve and bring about positive changes for the general good.

THERE IS STRONG goodwill out there to support women empowerment in the country, but Liberian women seem not to be coming out to seize those opportunities. The United Nations is leading the campaign to have more women at the top of leadership, but the actors appear to be nowhere around.

CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER Mr. Justin Trudeau while visiting Liberia recently, pledged over a million U.S. dollar to empower women in politics. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has laid the foundation by competing against three successive regimes some time characterised by arrest and imprisonment to get to the top of national leadership that she occupies today. It did not come by reserving privilege seat for her. Therefore, women aspiring for leadership should emulate her unwavering resolve and bravery, if they must succeed.

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