Written By: Matthew H. Turry
As women of Liberia on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 joined other women globally in celebrating International Women’s Day, participants at a one symposium have renewed the call for women to be given the space to serve in positions of influence. The event was aimed at highlighting women’s emancipation and participation in peace processes while at the same time highlighted couple of barriers as they spoke during the event.
The symposium was organized by the Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC) for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security under the theme ” Liberian Women at the Table”, at the Cecil Dennis Conference Room at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia and brought together cross section of women from across the country.
A discussion from the women outlined challenges, including fear, tradition, lack of love and support for each other, lack of resources, limited education, and threats from their spouses as reasons for which Liberian women are not at the table of trust, influence and decision making. The grassroots women also highlighted the negative impact of illicit drugs among the youths and called for swift action to save the younger generation.
Despite the odds, Glady Walker and Julia Russell said women who are opportune to get at the table must get there for all – including their fellow women, men and children, stating that women should work with one spirit and for the people.
They said that drug and rape cases have become commodities for the Justice system. They urged women of Liberia to rise against drug dealers.
Additionally, the women craved for job, training and empowerment to be able to support their children and cater to the livelihood of their respective families. They further urged their colleagues to enhance their meaningful participation in national advocacy for women and children across the country.
Speaking at the jammed park symposium, the Establishment Coordinator of the Liberian-based Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC) for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security, Cllr. Dr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh said it is necessary to brainstorm and encourage Liberian women and girls to break barriers and step forward to forge ahead to pursue the objective of women emancipation.
According to Cllr. Chesson-Wureh, it is time now for women to do away with phobia and threats from their male counterpart and take on the challenge to be visible in positions of trust and influence.
She added that it is only by that women’s plights will be addressed and voice be heard.
Speaking further she described women as aggressor, disruptor and creator. Therefore, they must brace to create the space to get to position of influence and trust instead of sitting behind and waiting for it to get to them.
Cllr Chesson-Wureh noted that if women can be in charge of creation and have the ability to multi-task, then who are men to create bias saying that women are not educated to be given positions of influence and trust to express at the helm of decision making in the private and public sector of the country.
Chesson-Wureh challenged the participating women to take the responsibility to save the next generation.
“I do not want us to be quiet because we are thinking women. We are creator and generational thinkers. We think and we have the ability to speak and things happen. We must make sure that our girls voice be heard and it should start from the home, whether good, bad, or ugly, they must speak out and we as parents should listen and train them”, she noted.
Cllr. Wureh said to the grassroots women, “Stop hindering the voices of your girls in the home because it is your responsibility to guide them in thought, train them in ideas and properly guide them how to formulate ideas to speak out.
” Liberian Women must be at the table and be visible. We, as women, have the right to be at the table therefore, we are not waiting for anybody to bring answer. We are partner to men. We have to start training our girls in the home to speak out instead of shutting them up. Cooking, cleaning is not their life because they are beyond that. Make the space for them to express themselves and explore potential to compete with the boys in the home”, she asserted.
Prior to the indoor meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ABIC Establishment Coordinator along with hundreds of grassroots women from Westpoint, Clara Town, New Kru Town, King Gray, Bentol, Todee and Bong and Lofa counties among others, paraded the streets of Monrovia from Broad & Johnson streets to the grounds of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.