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No class, no race in women’s participation

-Liberia’s First Lady tells ECOWA Parliament

The First Lady of Liberia Clar Marie Weah has kicked against basing
women’s participation in leadership on class system, saying participation should involve every femalefrom all classes and races.

Addressing the opening session of the 54th ECOWAS Parliamentary meeting in Monrovia Tuesday, April 13, Madam Weah said no girl or woman should feel deprived of any opportunity because of her gender. “We need a long lasting solution. Over the last decade, it has not been translated into actions; we still have violence against women”, the First Lady notes.

Madam Weah, who is also founder of the Clar Hope Foundation, says that her foundation is there to empower and enhance skills of women and girls, saying, “I have always dreamt of becoming an advocate forchildren around the world. I am committed to seek true empowerment ofwomen across the world.”

The meeting which was held under the theme; Empowerment of Women inthe ECOWAS region brought together members of the parliament, Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dee Maxwell Kemayah, House Speaker BhofalChambers, Gender Minister WilliamettaSaydee- Tarr, Grand Bassa County Senator NyonbleeKangarLawrance, Representative RosanaSchaack, who chairs the Female Legislative Caucus, Civil Society and other women groups.

The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament SidieMohamed Tunis says Liberia being the first African country to have a female president and also over the last three years, the first female vice president in the region, Monrovia is the right place that the discussion for women empowerment is held.

He therefore pledges support to do his best to improve the status of women in their respective countries and thanks the authorities of Liberia forgranting the regional Parliament the privilege to meet in Monrovia.

Liberia’s Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection WilliamettaSaydeeTarr explains that the Weahadministration through the Ministry has done a lot for womenand would continue to do more.
She reveals that efforts have beenmade locally to empower women of Liberia through village savings,and other vocational skills.

According to her, those trainings have impacted lives of females both old and young, but the exercise is constrained financially due to limited budgetary support. The Chairperson of the Female Legislative Caucus, Rep.

RosanaSchaack notes they in the Liberian Legislature have been addressing issues affectingwomen, while stressing a need to increase number of women in the Legislature, and to empower women economically.
Rep. Schaack continues that women in Liberia are still challenged traditionally, calling for promotion of genderequality to allow women hold public offices and perform public duties at alllevels.

The head of Liberia’s delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Edwin MelvinSnowe, who welcome the regional parliament, said that the Speaker ofECOWAS doesn’t need to be welcomed to Liberia, because the country is already his home.

Snowe discloses that Speaker Tunis and President Weah were once class mates in Liberia, specifically at Well-Hellston High School in Monrovia and that the Speaker is also a graduate of the CuttingtonUniversity in Bong County, Liberia.

He then thanks President Weah who formerly headed the Liberian Delegation to ECOWAS and opened lots of doors that enable delocalization of the parliamentary meeting.

By Ethel A. Tweh–Editing by Jonathan Browne

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