In an effort to calm the uneasiness among its female members as well as the general Liberian public in regards to gender equity within its new leadership, the Press Union of Liberia has appointed three females as heads of three of the organization’s five standing committees.
The PUL on Monday December 9, conducted its leadership elections with no female represented within the very top leadership. This angered the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FEJAL), a group comprising female journalists in Liberia. They had vowed to boycott all activities of the PUL.
Members of the PUL, who were elected in the early December election were Kamara A. Kamara and Jallah Grayfield as president and vice respectively, while D. Kaiheneh Sengbe and Daniel Nyankonah were elected secretary and deputy, also.
But the new PUL leadership’s decision to give the three committees to three females, is considered in some quarters of the media as mere tokenism intended to douse the fire blazing within the media umbrella organization, lit by its female membership after they had been denied seats in the union’s leadership.
The elections bring to the fore, many years of women’s under-representation in media-related organizations—leaving many female journalists disenchanted.
They (females) greeted the elections’ results with anger and frustration, knowing that their voices would probably not be heard during decision-making since their only representative in the race, was not elected.
At the induction ceremony of the newly elected PUL’s leaders, the inducted president, Kamara A. Kamara, announced the appointment of three he termed most organized and exemplary female colleagues as Chairpersons of three Standing Committees of the PUL, and by extension, membership to the Executive Committee: They are: Mrs. Winnie Saywah Jimmy – Membership; Mrs. Carolyn Myers Zoduah – Welfare and Mrs. Tetee Geebro – Sports & Entertainment.
Mr. Kamara said that as a professional body most visible to the public, the new leadership is of the conviction that the inclusiveness they showcased will serve as a telling example to the greater Liberian society.
The PUL boss said: “Our clamor for greater female inclusiveness has nothing to do with other elected persons in the leadership; it is a simple attempt to address the historical practices that have held women and minority groups on the margins of society.
He said that as a group that seeks to ensure that basic human rights prevails in our society, the PUL has to be wary that every action must foster and project attitudes that promote the rights of all members and the society at large.
“In keeping with this pledge, it is our desire to ensure that the voices of our sisters and all other disadvantaged groups are heard. This is to guarantee that female journalists serve in the leadership of the Press Union of Liberia; I hereby announce the appointment of three of our most organized and exemplary female colleagues as Chairpersons of 3 Standing Committees of the PUL, and by extension – membership to the Executive Committee – Mrs. Winnie Saywah Jimmy – Membership; Mrs. Carolyn Myers Zoduah – Welfare and Mrs. Tetee Geebro – Sports & Entertainment,” Mr. Kamara said
“In addition, I commit to working with all committee chairpersons, especially the ladies, to ensure that their roles are not only in name, but so they would be remembered for the impact upon the development of the media and setting the agenda for Liberia,” he furthered.
One of the nominees, Winnie Saywah Jimmy, said: “though it is unfortunate that no female is among the core leaders of the PUL, being given the privilege to serve the organization and lead it to another level is an honor.”