Women strategize for 2023 elections
By Kruah Thompson
The YWCA in collaboration with the Women Working Group on women’s peace and security has ended a three-day workshop here, geared at preparing women to participate in the 2023 Presidential and general elections as a means of breaking the barriers of women’s participation in national decision making.
The workshop, serving as a catalyst in preparing women to participate in elections was held from Thursday, February 24 to Saturday, February 26, 2022, bringing together women participants from various political parties to sort out ways to break male dominance in the National Legislature.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the national secretary general of the YWCA, Mrs. Roseline Toweh charged women in Liberia to open up and do away with political differences, as they all seek one goal to make sure women get to the parliament.
She said the primary function of the YWCA is to empower women and girls through skills, formal and informal education, gender equality, seeking justice for all, regardless of physical disabilities, amongst others.
“In as much as we are nonpolitical, our job is to educate. To enable you to go one step further; what made you failed in the last election you can say it, we all need to discuss it and give you our ideas to open new corridor”, Mrs. Toweh told the participants.
She says it’s no time that people will think voters need cartoons of books and other items without knowing what are their own problems that cause them to fail the last election. “I want you to be secure. Don’t hide it. I know money business hard”, she added.
At the same time, she assured women that they will work on strategies for fundraising and resources mobilization-n control.
Mrs. Toweh: “Election is not only money. our role here is to market you, make you visible, make you somebody the people can trust”.
She urged women to go to their various communities and make peace with those who may have some issues with them.
For her part, Ms. Louisa Walker, special assistant to the general secretary of the YWCA explained the significance of the workshop by outlining background of the project that gave rise to it.
Madam Walker explained the exercise is a US$2m project funded by UNDP and UN Women in collaboration with The Government of Liberia titled “Promoting inclusive political participation and elimination of violence against women in politics” by the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF).
She said the project was launched to promote women’s political participation and eliminate violence against women during elections in Liberia with its stakeholders being the Ministry of Gender, Civil Society Organizations, the National Elections Commission, peacebuilding fund, the Irish Embassy and the United Nations, amongst others.
She stressed that the relevance of women’s participation in politics is driven by the fact that Liberia is expected to conduct elections in 2023 where 15 seats in the Senate and 72 seats in the House of Representatives will be up for election, but out of the 72 seats, only 9 women incumbents are up for re-election.
“Women constitute 50 percent of the population, according to the 2008 census. Women occupied only 2 seats at the senate, constituting 6.7 percent in the Liberian senate”, Madam Walker explained.
She attributed the very low percentage of women’s participation at the Legislature as “poor perception about women leadership, lack of access to resources, violence against women in elections or politics, social and cultural norms and unenforceable legal framework are some of the barriers that have fragmented the role of women in politics in Liberia.
She notes that one of the best ways to a successful democracy is to encourage equal and inclusive political participation, which is the UN 2030 agenda.
She said by building on existing programs and participation like said workshop, there will be a creation of synergies with other development partners working in the same area.
According to her, it has been estimated that women are not participating in leadership as they should, thus posing a serious threat to gender equality and sustainability, hence, challenging women to not take the back seat but to stand up and join the fight to save mama Liberia.
In closing, Mrs. Walker urged women to fight for the future of their children’s children, and that the future of Liberia rests on the shoulders of gender-equal political participation.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/liberia-2023-a-turbulent-season/ Editing by Jonathan Browne