Swedish Embassy Charge d’affaires Ms. Elizabeth Harleman says 2017 is a crucial year for Liberia’s democratic and governance process, stressing that women’s role is very important as the country goes to election in October for new leaders to steer the affairs of the country.
Speaking at a pre- celebration of the International Women’s Day in New Kru Town on Bushrod Island, Ms. Harleman stressed the importance of continuously having a conversation about the significance of
women’s political participation in national discussions.
Addressing the event organized recently by Youth Exploring Solutions, Ms. Harleman said the government across the continent and the world bodies have all agreed that the inclusion of women and girls in the decision making process is vita.
She said in Liberia, women have played a vital role in governance and leadership, as well as the maintenance of peace and security.
She said research shows that “women in politics raise issues that others overlook, pass bills that others oppose, invest in project, dismiss and seek to end abuses that others ignore”.
Ms. Harleman said electioneering periods are the best time to effect the needed changes, and Liberia is at this critical junction this year.
The Swedish Diplomat noted that women are underrepresented as voters, as candidates on party listing, and as officials in political parties.
She said in Liberia, the National Elections Commissions or NEC statistics showed that women constituted 51 percent of the voting population in 2005, and a slight reduction of 49 percent in 2011.
“Political parties’ officials must ensure that women who bring viability to the party and contribute immensely are put on the party candidate listing”, she recommended.
While seeking women participation, Ms. Harleman however urged that should not wait for the opportunity to come to them, but noted they should take steps, distinguish themselves and be willing to learn new skills and build their experience.
For his part, the executive director of Youth Exploring Solutions Mr. Stephen B. Lavalah said women are special and they need to be treated as such.