Liberia: LP to Adopt 50% Women Quota

Women's Legislative Caucus new leaders take the oath of office with Sen. Karnga-Lawrence on the left.     

... Sen. Karnga-Lawrence discloses as she takes the helm as chair of the Women’s Legislative Caucus 

The newly inducted chairperson of the Women’s Legislative Caucus of Liberia (WLC), SenatorNyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, has disclosed that the Liberty Party (LP), of which she is a political leader, is pushing for a 50% quota for women in leadership positions, and the same candidates on the party’s list.

Sen. Karnga-Lawrence added that the 50% representation would force the party to have more women in leadership positions and help to increase women’s representation in the Legislature. 

The assertions of Sen. Karnga-Lawrence were in response to jabs thrown by Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, about the stance of the opposition parties on the move of the National Executive Committee of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), which has unanimously adopted a resolution requiring 40 percent political participation for women throughout its leadership structures and parliamentary seats in pending general elections.

“Madam Vice President, about the CDC’s 40% quota, the Liberty Party is pushing for a 50% women quota,” Sen. Karnga-Lawrence declared at her induction ceremony on June 9, in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building.

The WLC chair said the WLC will ensure, as one of its priorities, the reelection of the 9 female Representatives who are seeking  reelection in 2023.

The Senator however failed to include the reelection VP Howard-Taylor, who was inducted as a WLC Advisor for a three-year tenure.

The WLC chair appealed to International partners to help assess female candidates and provide the necessary moral and financial support to increase women’s representation in the Legislature. 

Earlier, the Vice President, who served as Guest Speaker, called on women groups to focus on helping other women to be elected, despite their bad habits, including having  “mattresses on their backs,” among others. 

Serving as a proxy for the Speaker of the House of Representatives Bhofal Chambers, the chairperson for the House Committee on Education and Public Administration, Rep. Mariamu Fofana, said the Speaker has committed to  favoring bills relating to women’s empowerment.

The Chairman of the Senate's Health Committee, Sen. Cllr. Augustine Chea, serving as a proxy for the President Pro-Tempore of the Senate, Albert Chie, also expressed the Pro-Tempore’s commitment to favor bills relating to women's empowerment. 

He also said the Senate is internally discussing the amendments to legalize abortions.

Senator Conmany Wesseh urged women legislators to begin the empowerment and promotion of women by employing women in their various offices as Chief of Office Staff (COS).

Senator Wesseh said only three of the female 11 lawmakers have female COS. 

The outgoing chairperson of WLC, Rep. Rosanna Schaack, said there is so much to do in facilitating the transformation of the lives of women and girls in the  country. She urged the Karnga-Lawrence leadership to continue the oversight responsibility to review existing laws and reforms, draft new laws that promote gender equity, and work with the Executive to ensure all these laws are implemented.

“With much happiness, I turn over the gavel of leadership and extra hours of work, to Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and her Corps of Officers,” Rep. Schaack said.

She thanked the President and first lady Clar Weah for the collaboration and support. 

Meanwhile, the installation officer, former Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott, told the women to serve as standard-bearers for change of the country.

She narrated that the WLC was birthed in 2006 when she and four others were Senators and there were nine (9) Representatives in the House of Representatives. 

She challenged the Karnga-Lawrence’s leadership to push for the steady increase of women’s representations in both houses.

Those inducted include Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, Chairperson; Senator Botoe Kanneh,  Vice-Chair/National Affairs; Rep. Moima Briggs-Mensah, Vice-Chair/International Affairs; Rep. Rustonlyn Dennis, Secretary; Rep. Julie Wiah, Financial Secretary; and Rep. Ellen Attoh Wreh, Treasurer. Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor and Rep. Rosanna Schaack will serve as advisors.