An initiative meant to drive forward the diversity agenda by encouraging and enabling more women to become actively involved in decision-making spaces, including boards across all sectors in Liberia, has been launched in Monrovia.
The Women on Boards Network of Liberia (WOBNL), which took over from the Women on Boards Taskforce, was initiated to gather data on women’s representation on boards in the country.
WOBNL also identified the challenges to getting women on boards and recommends a way to achieve 33 percent women representation on boards by 2023 and was organized by the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC), with a key slogan for the network’s advocacy campaign is “33 by 23.”
Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, who served as keynote speaker said, Liberian women have been patient for this change to take place; and have waited for 171 years for a nation that knows the value and contributions of half of its population; yet continues to stand in a place where it feels that though they are able and capable, it is not yet time.
According to the VP, the long-running crusade for gender equality; not only in Liberia, but across the world is one that demands the full and concerted push from all sides, particularly from national leaders-males in positions of trust and authority.
“It has been a heavy burden for me and many other women fighting for gender equality, who seemingly have no place to seek redress, and who seem to not be able to get a new footing aright. And so upon hearing of this initiative by the LCC, it is a joy for me and others of like minds to join this new battle,” she said
VP Howard-Taylor said women who have made some gains in climbing the ladder in the public and corporation realm of governance, who have opportunities to hire, yet consistently choose males over females.
“So let us not cry over spilled milk. When we look at Boards of Corporations, one can see clearly, by virtue of the oversight role they perform that they are critical in our governance process, ensuring judicious use of resources, both human and financial; enforcing accountability, good governance, and responsibility for the benefit of stakeholders,” she added.
The Vice President also acknowledged the new breed of conscious leaders of the LCC for the initiative that aim at recruiting more women on boards.
“As we begin this new cycle, let us truly commit to a cause than ourselves, to do all we can to ensure that gender equality becomes a reality in our lifetime; keeping in mind that this time we will accept no other outcome,” she said.
Wendell Addy, president of the LCC, who also spoke at the launch, welcomed the initiative not only to foster discussions on gender diversity that will help to indicate what challenges women face in obtaining seats at decision making tables, and what advantages women can bring to such forums.
Mr. Addy called for more women representation at senior management levels because of the value they bring to the table. “It has been proven that women have immense potentials as engines of growth and economic development. Consequently, empowering them becomes beneficial to the society at large,” he maintained.
He assured participants that his institution will continue to stand up for women’s inclusion at all levels and in all sectors of Liberia’s economy.
The colorful event was attended by several women from diverse business background.