The Liberia Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC) in collaboration with Women Non-Governmental Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL) has released five propositions to be included in the new constitution of Liberia that will enable women to create a better society or community.
Speaking yesterday to newsmen at the office of (LIWOMAC) in Congo Town, outside Monrovia, the president of (LIWOMAC), T. Estella Nelson said Liberian women want to applaud the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) and its partners for deeming it pertinent to include gender integration in the review process.
According to her, there were several consultations concerning gender integration being held with women all over the country, stimulating their active participation to ensure that some of these concerns are addressed through the organic law of Liberia, noting that the revision of the on-going constitution was a great opportunity to do so.
She explained that, “These consultations have yielded several recommendations from Liberian women, which have since been coined into propositions and presented to the CRC. Knowing what women, mothers, sisters and daughters have suffered over the years, our male counterparts will see reason to ensure that our propositions are passed at the national conference, the legislature, and finally the referendum.”
Equal Representation, Age of Consent
The women have requested that, “There must be equal representation, that is 50-50 of both genders at all spheres and levels of government, elected and appointed and membership into any secret society should be at the age of consent which is 18.”
She continued, “In addition to customary and statutory marriages, there shall be marriage by cohabitation and a man and a woman who have lived together for over two years and who present themselves to the public as husband and wife, and doing all things appertaining except for a legal document shall be deemed a married couple under the laws of Liberia.”
Violence Against Women, Children & Gender Balance
“All forms of violence against women and girls should be prohibited, with capital punishment recommended for the acts of rape and sodomy, especially in favor of children. Lastly, the constitution should be gender-balanced, using, for example, ‘The President instead of he/she or him/her,” Madam Nelson added.
Madam Nelson said if Liberia will build family values to sustain a better society and community, there is a need to ensure that these propositions are included in the new constitution, which women would use in making decisions for society.
“If these propositions are not addressed, Liberia will not be developed or have a society in which women will feel protected through the constitution. If women cannot send their children to school, it becomes a serious concern because some are left with children and no care for them.”
According to her, women have been fighting for these rights and Liberia has been signatory to many of these international agreements but taking affirmative action for these matters remain a serious challenge for the country.
She disclosed that Liberian women have already presented the five propositions to the CRC and believe this is the right time and it could not have come at a better time than what it is, adding that men should support these propositions for their sisters, mothers and daughters.
She added: “We the women of Liberia say we remain with the CRC headed by Justice Gloria Musu-Scott as the country heads towards the National Conference. Our men must support these propositions in helping the women of Liberia.”