— As ALWN concludes third consultative meetings with women leaders of political parties Rainbow Alliance
A member of the African Women Leaders Network Liberia (ALWN) Chapter has called on women in the country to work hard in transforming their status.
Dr. Evelyn Kandakai, who is a member of ALWN Liberia chapter, said women are frequently seen as underdogs in society and “if you have underdogs, it means that you have [to be] top dogs. The Africa we want; the Liberia we want, we don’t want to continue to see women as underdogs.”
She made these remarks on Monday, July 20, 2020, at the third ALWN consultation with women leaders of political parties or members of Rainbow Alliance and unaffiliated political parties in Monrovia.
The Rainbow Alliance parties include the Liberia Restoration Party (LRD), Change Democratic Action (CDA), Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), Democratic Justice Party (DJP), and Victory for Change Party (VCP).
Others include Grassroot Democratic Party of Liberia (GDPL), Redemption Democratic Congress (RDC), Peoples Unification Party (PUP), Vision for Liberia Transformation Party (VOLT), New Liberia Party (NLP) and the True Whig Party (TWP).
The meeting was held under the theme: “Enhancing Women’s Participation in Governance: With Focus on Electoral Law Reform and Women’s Inclusion in Political Party/Coalition Structures.”
Dr. Kandakai used the occasion to encourage participants to get more involved with the organization as it carries out consultations with the Legislature to pass laws that favor them (women).
The African Women Leaders Network was established by the African Union (AU), United Nations Women (UN Women) and some African countries to help give women more space in society.
Dr. Kandakai, a former Education Minister of Liberia, said: “We need more momentum, more force in terms of women’s participation in leadership; not only in governance but in everything. There are women in business; there are women in security and so forth.”
She added that the role of the organization is to help drive the process by mentoring women and bringing them [women] into a “better station.”
Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Alice Howard, stated that women’s political participation does not exist in a vacuum, “rather, it affects many environmental factors, including culture and social issues; traditional and political structures and the list goes on. Women just do not want to be in politics; it is not only to be at the highest table of politics but in every sphere of life,” she said.
But she stressed that for women’s participation to be seen more in politics, women in Liberia should be able to follow the footsteps of other countries, referencing Rwanda as a case study.
“While attending a program in Rwanda, the women of Rwanda were bold to tell us that it wasn’t an easy thing to achieve adequate political participation, so they had to make electoral reforms that we [Liberian women] too are preaching today,” she said.
The Director of the Gender Unit at the National Elections Commissions, Leisel Tarley, stressed that women’s political participation should cut across the community and district levels instead of only elected positions.
“This way, you become more known because in politics it is about how well-known you are,” she stressed.