In rebuilding a once war-time hotspot where many Liberians are still finding life difficult since the end of a 14-year civil war, a handful of influential females have twisted the cultural and historical beliefs of mono-genderism leadership on the African continent.
Owing to the fact that gender culture and emotional intelligence impede women’s career growth and serve as a barrier to equality and majority headcounts in the leadership structure, Liberia has experienced and is still witnessing the indelible print of females nowadays since post-civil war era. The below excerpt from African Star analysis on Liberian Female Leaders mentioned Mawinie G. Diggs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mawinie G. Diggs got appointed to her position under the current administration headed by President George M. Weah. Furthermore, the report also commended females from the past and current administration, which includes former Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Cllr. Jamesetta Wolokollie, former foreign Affairs Minister Olubanke King-Akerele, former Finance Minister and current Deputy World Bank Director Dr. Antoinette Sayeh, former National Elections Commission Chair and Liberia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Gurley Gibson-Schwarz, Deputy AFL Chief of Staff Brigadier General Geraldine J. George, District #4 Representative Madam Suacoco Dennis, Ms. Davidetta Brown of the National Election Commission (NEC), Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Williametta Piso Saydee Tarr, etc. Women continue to make greater professional strides as demonstrated by their appointment to several high-profile positions in the George M. Weah Administration.
Their sacrifices in public service in the past or now is front and center and elevates the country. It is indisputable that Liberian women have performed equally and admirably in public office as compared to their male counterparts. It is worth recalling the public service of several prominent and acclaimed female public servants as former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Foreign Minister Olubanke-King Akerele, Associate Justice Jamesetta Wolokollie, former NEC Chair Cllr. Frances Johnson-Morris, former Finance and Planning Minister and current Deputy World Bank Director Dr. Antoinette Sayeh, and former President of the University of Liberia Dr. Ophelia Weeks.
The list of female leaders in the history of Liberia is not exhaustive and the argument can be reasonably made that even though the male-dominated society presents its own set of challenges, which women must overcome, they do in fact overcome and excel as leaders. Liberian female leaders have accomplished this feat so many times. We remind Liberians that female leadership is more likely to see the structural barriers and uneven expectations holding women back from top positions.
This viewpoint prepares them to be innovative and determined to succeed in getting their jobs done. Serving in strategic and influential public offices today, women in Liberia continue to excel in their various professions. We acknowledge President Weah’s nomination, in March 2019, of the first female Deputy Chief of Staff as Minister of Defense Colonel Geraldine Janet George, a career soldier and former Commander of the 23rd Infantry Brigade at the Edward B. Kessely Military Barracks. Another critical post is the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, which is headed by a U.S. trained social worker Williametta Piso Saydee Tarr.
Liberia’s envoy to the Royal Court of St. James in the United Kingdom is Ambassador Gurley Gibson-Schwarz, who has shown a unique ability to attract millions in international investments to Liberia since her days as Liberia’s Trade Attaché at the Embassy in the United States of America. At Liberia’s Foreign Ministry is Deputy Minister Mawinie G. Diggs, a professional envoy and administrator.
The highly experienced minister and one time Acting Foreign Minister is well respected among her peers and the Diplomatic Corp for her record of getting things done.
Last year she was appointed by President George M. Weah to travel to Abuja, Nigeria, and deliver a special Presidential Message to President Muhammadu Buhari on behalf of President Weah. Liberians witnessed the accomplishment of that diplomatic feat by this seasoned diplomat and administrator. As it is no secret that current Foreign Minister Gbehzhongar Findley has his eyes set on the senatorial seat for Grand Bassa County and is wrapping up his tenure at the ministry, Deputy Minister Diggs is viewed favorably by foreign diplomats and Liberians at home and abroad as a replacement for the outgoing Minister Findley.
The most recent female appointment is that of Ms Davidetta Brown-Lassana to head the country’s National Elections Commission (NEC). If confirmed by the Liberian Senate, this high-profile appointment will solidify President Weah’s commitment to empowering and prioritizing women, which is a promise he made. Representative Rustolyn Suacoco Dennis of District 4, Montserrado County, in the National Legislature is a member of the Women’s Legislative Caucus of Liberia. Her advocacy leadership on women and national issues and legislative agenda have won solid admiration among her peers and ordinary citizens.
Observers say Representative Madam Suacoco-Dennis and other female lawmakers in the National Legislature solidify the trailblazing effort that encourages other young Liberian women to aspire to public service. It can be argued that President Weah is not without qualified female candidates for various strategic public posts such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Education, the United Nations, and several foreign diplomatic posts. The paradigm leadership shift is to support President Weah’s strategic nomination of females in his government, which is in its second half of his Administration.
The African Star is a freely distributed online and hard copy newspaper which is published by the Atenaje Incorporated, a domestic nonprofit organization, headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island.