Women groups with support from the United Nations Women Organization here gathered Wednesday before the conference hall in Gbarnga, Bong County, requesting that the constitution review process should reflect political parties to ensure that no more than fifty percent of elected and appointed positions in government are of the same gender.
“It is the responsibility of the political parties to ensure the fulfillment of this provision. The legislature should enact appropriate laws for the implementation of this law,” a statement put forth by the women read.
The women groups are also requesting that the Constitution of Liberia protects the institution of marriage. In their proposal to the conference, they said in that regard, they want a constitution that protects individuals from force marriage, and recognizes the three types of marriage as statutory, customary, and common law.
“Further it is our submission that the constitution shall put the legal age of consent at 18 years. We further submit that through the constitution; married people should own all property in the marriage in common except they choose otherwise,” the statement added.
The women are also pushing that the constitution guarantees protection of children’s rights, arguing that the best interest of children should be paramount in all matters relating to them and that a child should be defined as any person below age 18.
“We want the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia to reflect a gender responsive language by referring to “he” and “she” in reference to men and women, boys and girls.”
According to the UN report of 2013, most women and girls live in extreme poverty.
Many of them also suffer as a result of HIV/AIDS, illiteracy, poor health care system, unemployment and other ills. Consequently, they are under developed, under represented and exposed to different kinds of risks. This is evident by the high rate of teenage pregnancy, street children, teenage prostitution, drug abuse, dysfunctional families and the rest.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor