UNMIL supports the Liberian Women’s Consultative forum
7 February 2018, Monrovia - Two weeks after the Presidential inauguration, the new Vice President of the Republic of Liberia Her Excellency Jewel Howard-Taylor chaired the Liberian Women’s Consultative Forum in collaboration with the Women’s Situation Room, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and the Angie Brooks International Centre and UN Women. The main objective of the forum was to deliberate on the Liberian womens’ agenda, define a unified purpose and to establish a working tool for the next six years of this Government.
The forum was attended by the UNMIL Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG), Waldemar Vrey, UN Women, government officials, County Superintendents, members of civil society organisations and rural women’s groups from various counties.
DSRSG Vrey commended Her Excellency Jewel Howard-Taylor for convening the national consultative forum to deliberate on critical issues towards strengthening unity among Liberian women, in support of the women’s agenda.
“The objective of the forum is to ensure that the Liberian women are unified and working proactively together in solving women’s priorities like health, financial empowerment and political participation. I am particularly happy that you are going to discuss political participation as well. If I look at the numbers in the new legislature I think there needs to be a stronger message that we need more women Representatives. Women make up at least 30 per cent of the vote and I think you should use your vote stronger” said DSRSG Vrey.
The DSRSG stressed that UNMIL is committed to supporting and strengthening efforts by the government and civil society on gender-related issues such as gender-based violence (GBV); stating that much still needs to be done and efforts should continue to combat impunity for the perpetrators of such crimes.
“The UN in general remains available and committed to the womens’ agenda. While UNMIL is leaving I assure you that the Resident Coordinator/DSRSG Yacoub El Hillo is going to be around and he will take this important agenda forward together with the UN Agencies that will be here. We are leaving behind a joint Programme that has four components and one of them is support to gender” added DSRSG Vrey.
During her remarks, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor thanked UNMIL and UN Women for funding the event. Her Excellency made reference to former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who once said “the meek do not inherit the earth” as an encouragement for women to speak up about issues affecting their lives and to fight for what they want by strategizing and implementing.
“Let us begin to work together because if we do not, our daughters will have a more difficult time. We need to be united. President George Weah said during his campaign that he chose a woman because he wants to improve the lives of all women” said the Vice President.
She enumerated a few issues that need to be addressed including: female prostitution, domestic violence and women political participation. Economic empowerment is crucial in reducing the vulnerability of women and protecting them from many ills in society.
“I hope we can come up with a Women’s Manifesto for the next six years. Through unity and strength we can create the Liberia we want to see. We need to ensure that we have gender-friendly policies” concluded her Excellency Jewel Howard-Taylor.