By: E. Geedahgar Garsuah Sr.
MONROVIA: Former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Champion of the Women’s Situation Room (WSR), has urged Liberian women and girls “to move beyond their fears of being bullied and intimidated by their male colleagues by engaging in political fight with bravery and determination.”
She wants women politicians to jealously protect their rightful positions while challenging their male counterparts in the political space of Liberia democratically and lawfully.
Sirleaf reminded the gathering of predominately eminent Liberian women of the Women’s Situation Room of their constitutional right to canvas for any political office while at the same time encouraging them, saying, “let’s not give up”.
Madam Johnson-Sirleaf, referred to as “Champion of the Women’s Situation Room” sounded the words of encouragement to her counterparts during a dialogue named and styled: “A conversation with the Champion and Eminent Women of the Women’s Situation Room” held recently at the Bella Casa Hotel near Sinkor in Monrovia.
Former President Johnson-Sirleaf lauded the gathering of eminent women for their determination in advocating for a free space for women participating in politics.
She urged the women to exert collective efforts aimed at persuading their political leaders to allow women take up leadership positions in their various political parties.
The former President pointed out that women need to lobby with the Legislature to ensure reform in the election laws that protect women candidates.
According to her, allocating seats for women at the Legislature has been a long overdue battle.
She disclosed that under her leadership as President, she proposed legislation for women representation in each county, but such could not be actualized due to financial constraints.
The dialogue was held under the auspicious of the Women’s Situation Room of the Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC) in collaboration with the United Nations Peace-Building Office.
It was centered on two thematic topics: “Woman’s participation in mediation and conflict resolution and identification of issues, discussion and way forward in the meditation in Liberia elections.”
Cllr. Yvette Chesson Wureh, Head of Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC), in opening remarks, stated that it is instrumental that the WSR was involved with the issues of violence meted out against female candidates in the 2020 bi-elections.
She extolled her fellow women for ensuring real time conflict resolution mechanisms were put in place to avert similar unwanted situation.
The women’s rights advocate, nevertheless, expressed disappointment in male politicians for using violence and bullying against their female counterparts as a way of instilling panic so they could avoid contesting in elections.
“They do this to scare women out of politics,” she added.
She warned that any political parties going after female contenders in physical violence force will meet same proportion of force applied.
“Any political party going after women in physical violence, we will go after you” but within the framework of law and order.