Chamber, IFC Begins Second Women’s Confab Today

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Milton Weeks will today,  March 21 declare open the second edition of the More Women Better Boards Conference in Monrovia.

The event is organized by the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), under the theme, “More Women Better Boards.”

A release issued by the LCC stated that the platform is to raise awareness of the benefits of having a diverse board; supporting the need for targeting more women to become more actively involved in Business Members Organizations and boards across all sectors.

According to the LCC’s secretary general, SalaMartu Stephanie Duncan, the event will examine the challenges faced by women in accessing boards and more formal business spaced and also considers strategies for proactively progressing the diverse board agenda.

She said there is strong evidence globally that the inclusion of women in decision making has a demonstrable effect in improving the performance of organizations (companies) specifically and, in doing so, positively impacting on sector and general national economic growth.

Ms. Duncan assured participants that the LCC is dedicated to being the most representative business association and a trusted voice of the private sector in the country.

She  further said that since the establishment of the Chamber in 1951 (66 years ago) there has not been a female president, although there have been two female vice chairs.

At the same time, Ms. Duncan said the LCC will commence a two-day workshop beginning Wednesday, March 22-23, for women task force that was set up to study the current trend of women in accessing Boards in a formal business space and to consider strategies based on the findings.  The task-force will present its initial findings and interim recommendations, one of which is to provide training for women who are “ready and willing” to serve.

According to a 2017 IFC report, women in Liberia are much more likely than men to be self-employed (69 percent of women compared to 56 percent of men).

However, the majority of female entrepreneurs in Liberia continue to work informally and in low-productivity sectors, mainly in small retail and trade.  Among entrepreneurs, women are more likely than men to own completely informal enterprises (60 percent of women, compared to 45 percent of men).

Wholesale and retail trade, the second-most important sector for overall employment in Liberia after agriculture, employs around 35 percent of the female workforce (compared to just 15 percent of employed men).

The Task Force members are Stephanie SalaMartu Duncan; Elizabeth Bannerman; Eudeen Cooper; Fatu Addy; Kula Thompson Williams; Leelai Kpukuyou; Mai Urey; Midred Dean; Nomtha Sithole; Jeanine Cooper; Veda Simpson; Lillian Best; Delores Maxwell; and Christine Freeman.

It may be recalled that, the LCC partnered with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and hosted a first conference on June 21, 2017, which brought together cross section of women from diverse economic background.

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