The Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of President George Weah has adopted a resolution that would force the party to have more women in leadership positions.
The party, which is celebrating its 17th anniversary, reached a general consensus on the long-sought measure — that has now been claimed as an enshrined policy decision for all of its internal and external democratic processes.
The CDC — one of the three constituting political parties in the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change has set a 40 percent quota for women in leadership positions, and the same with women candidates on party lists.
“After 17 years, the National Executive Committee of the CDC has unanimously adopted a resolution requiring 40 percent political participation for women throughout its leadership structures and parliamentary seats in pending general elections,” the party’s Chairman, Mulbah Morlu, said in a press statement. “This policy-decision henceforth, [will be] considered in the party’s internal and external democratic processes.
“Additionally, the party NEC is calling on the President to appoint more qualified women to significant positions in government as a necessary step to close the gender gap,” Morlu added.
However, for the move by CDC to likely have a modest impact, the party will need to have a level playing field during its forthcoming congress and primary elections which are usually designed to favor men.
It is an open secret that many women in the CDC and many other political parties in Liberia, despite their qualifications, are still having their competencies and capabilities questioned. In Liberia, women have chronic underrepresentation when it comes to gender balance in political participation, and in December 2020, women accounted for just 20 out of 118 eligible candidates in the Special Senatorial Elections, with the ruling CDC nominated men — most of whom were financially stable.
So whether the rules of this gender quota will be implemented to the letter or not, remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Morlu, while praising his party’s quota decision, said that the history of the CDC goes hand-in-hand with the party’s historic support for women's rights, especially its distinctive women empowerment policy, which became the bedrock of the rise of many prominent women in Liberian politics.
“As early as June 2005, the party had adopted Liberia’s first 30% gender quota, holding itself accountable for its scrupulous implementation. This feat inspired an almost a 28% rise in women's candidature across the country during the 2005 General and presidential elections.
[We] are a people of great history and have always accomplished the unthinkable in unity, love for one another, and respect for all. This is why even in the face of monumental challenges, we have prevailed. We have traversed many hurdles and can do it again if we come together, knowing that our avoidable defeat will always lie in the disunity we must strive to prevent today, not tomorrow. It’s time to rise above the things that divide us as we continue to champion and serve the aspirations of the most important actors of our movement, the people.
Morlu added that though the CDC movement is not a perfect one, it is a proud mass-based architecture, a unique diversification of ordinary, yet dedicated and organized people from all walks of life who have come to meet and overcome obstacles even giants feared and avoided for decades before it.
He added that while the party acknowledges the “undisputed achievements of their government,” they cannot also ignore the colossal challenges affecting thousands “of our people.”
“Hence, in coming months, collective efforts must continue to be accelerated to address the people’s and ‘militants’ sustainable needs while working toward an equitable, just and non-sexist society for all,” Morlu noted.