A major international All Liberian Women’s Conference on equal rights, opportunities and equal participation is scheduled to be held in December in Atlanta, Georgia USA, a dispatch from the conference center said.
According to the conference organizers, the gathering will deliberate on the issues of violence against women and children in Liberia and immigrant communities in the Diaspora, women in politics and sexuality, power and abuse.
The process will be led by Dr. Francien Chenoweth-Richardson of Diaspora Women for Change (DWC), and activist Madam Ysyndi Martin-Kpeyei of the Alliance of Liberia Women International (ALWI). Conference participants, who are expected from around the world, including Liberia, will also discuss the issue of patriarchy, power and abuse.
The theme of the conference and fundraiser is “Empowerment for Transformation, Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities and Equal Participation.”
According to the United Nations, “Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread and devastating human rights violations in our world today, and remains largely unreported due to impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it…”
In June, 2019, it was reported that Liberia, the European Union, the UN, local traditional and religious leaders and civil society actors, launched the spotlight initiative to eliminate sexual violence against women, and girls including sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices.
At the launch of that initiative, the former UN Resident Coordinator to Liberia Yacoub el Hillo, said, “The Spotlight Initiative creates a space for all in society to play an active role in ending violence against women.”
The United Nation’s Definition of violence against women is, “any act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
The Norwegian Refugee Council quotes data from agencies of the Liberian government “…from the 2007 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), found that 44 percent of women aged 15-49, have experienced physical violence by a husband or intimate partner. Sexual violence against females is the most commonly reported violent crime.”
In consonance with the upcoming commemoration of International Day for The Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says, “Not until the half of our population represented by women and girls live free from fear, violence and everyday insecurity can we truly say we live in a fair and equal world.”
Professor of Clinical Psychology, at a local graduate program in Pennsylvania, and also the founder of Diaspora
Women for Change, Inc,ays the organization’s call to action is “promoting awareness of violence against women and children by providing psycho-social and legal interventions.”
Dr. Richardson and Ms. Ysindi Kpeyei Martin, have both engaged several Liberian women, including Josie Bowier Watson, Memu Mccoy, Beatrice Karnga, Telvina Cole, Hawa Metzer, and Eva Sahr to serve on the planning committee of the All Liberian Women Conference. The organizers are of the hope to make the Conference an annual event as they strive to bring several women’s groups under one umbrella to have a united significant and impacted voice regarding women’s rights.
Dr. Richardson and Ms. Ysindi Martin Kpeyei were instrumental in identifying Dr. Roger to conduct the forensic pathological examination of Odell Sherman.
The DWC, a diverse group of Liberian women is involved in denouncing the practice of revenge pornography, raising awareness, and resources to provide support for women and children in Liberia, and in immigrant communities in the Diaspora. Organizers of the Conference expressed gratitude to all the supporters and sponsors.