Celebrating Liberian Women: Launch of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign

Remarks by Georgia Wallen, World Bank Liberia Country Manager

Delivered at the launch of the 16 Days Activism Against Gender Based Violence Campaign, held at the SKD Sports Complex, Monrovia, Liberia

November 25, 2023

Good afternoon, Honorable Ministers, distinguished officials, and honored participants. On behalf of the World Bank, we are delighted to join you today in Monrovia for the launch of the 16 days of activism campaign.

Liberian women have been an inspiration to countless people around the world. You have produced Africa’s first female president, female Nobel laureates, and impressive female leaders in high-ranking positions of government. These are world-class achievements! Today, I want to take the opportunity to honor all the women of Liberia. You are change makers. You are trailblazers. You are pillars of your families, communities, and Liberian society.

Still, a wide range of challenges deprive many Liberian women of the healthy and prosperous future that they deserve. The theme of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence this year is timely and meaningful: investing in preventing violence against women and girls. The World Bank is deepening our efforts to scale up the impact of our investments and activities to maximize opportunity for women.

How will we do this in Liberia? On multiple fronts:

  • We are investing in maternal and child health, including the ongoing construction of the new redemption hospital. Why? Because women’s health matters.
  • We are investing in education. Including at the secondary school level, with special efforts to reach young girls and young women in this critical and formative phase of their lives. We are boosting systems for addressing grievances, affirming that all girls should have a safe environment in which to learn and thrive. Why? Because women's education matters.
  • We are supporting smallholder farmers and small entrepreneurs, including women-owned -businesses. Why? Because the talent and entrepreneurial drive of women matters of this economy.
  • And we are working closely with the government of Liberia and partners on a new flagship Women Empowerment Project that aims to improve social and livelihood services for women and girls in targeted communities; foster positive social norms; and strengthen the government's capacity to advance women and girls’ empowerment. Why? Because women empowerment matters.

I want to leave you with a few words about what motivates me and our excellent team at the World Bank (including many outstanding Liberian women in our ranks!). Everything we do is driven by collective commitment to our mission: to end poverty and promote shared prosperity on a livable planet. Women are at the heart of realizing this mission. The vision, leadership, tenacity and hard work of Liberia’s women are the bridge between today’s Liberia and the increasingly inclusive and prosperous Liberia of the future. Congratulations on all you’ve done, and all that is to come!

Thank you for the opportunity to join you today to celebrate Liberian women and reaffirm the World Bank’s strong focus on empowering women here and everywhere. Thanks also to the organizers of this inspiring event.