SHEROES Forum Cites Low Representation in Women’s Leadership

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(from left) VP Jewel Howard Taylor, Chairperson of the SHEROES Forum Liberia; President of Liberia George Manneh Weah; former President of Malawi Joyce Hilda Banda; First Lady of Liberia Clar Marie Weah; former Vice President of Zimbabwe Joice Mujuru and Montserrado District 9 Representative Munah Pelham Youngblood.

The International SHEROES Forum currently taking place in Monrovia has decried  ‘low representation’ of women leadership in all sectors across Africa.

Hosted by Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor under the theme, “Advancing Women’s Representation in Leadership,” The SHEROES Forum runs from October 17-19, 2018, with several women and men from all sectors across Africa in attendance at the Monrovia City Hall Theater.

The forum opened with two former African female presidents, including Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Malawi’s Joyce Hilda Banda; former Vice President of Zimbabwe, Joice Mujuru; and two current vice presidents from Nigeria and Liberia, the host country. Also in attendance were President and Mrs. George Manneh Weah.

The Forum attributed sexual and gender-based violence, high maternal mortality rates, and the lack of coordination, collaboration and cooperation amongst women as a leading cause of low representation in women leadership.

The Vice President reminded women at the forum to not shy away from the challenges they will face, but that they must be bold and fearless and join together tackle issues of dwindling representation.

She said the lack of resources and opportunities for women are major contributing factors that affect women participation in leadership, something she said need to be addressed in the shortest possible time.

“We must take cognizance of the fact that we live in a world wherein our hopes and aspirations are intertwined, and so the only way we can achieve our collective goals is to work together in unison. We must remove our eyes from the impossibilities and the things that so easily tear us apart and run the race knowing that we succeed or fail together,” Taylor said.

VP Taylor said SHEROES women are happy for the opportunity to meet again in one place but, on the other hand, they are saddened and burdened by the very low representation of women in Africa.

“As we converge here this historic day, our hearts have a bittersweet flavor through our Lone Star Nation has been the first in many areas, such as sending the first female President to the United Nations General Assembly, in the person of the late Mrs. Angie Brooks Randolph; the first African Nation to democratically elect the first female President in Africa, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; and the First Nation to elect the World’s best Footballer as President, a record not yet broken, we must state that on the eve of this historic FORUM, the number of Female Representation across our Continent is low for many reasons including lack of resources, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence,” she said.

Taylor said, “to our three Mothers – Mama Joice, Mama Joyce, and Mama Ellen, we are excited beyond measure to be able to have the three of you under one roof; you are our inspiration and we pray that God will grant each of you long life as you continue to trail-blaze and show us the steps necessary for success.”

Liberia’s Culture Ambassador Juli Endee (left) presents a gown of honor to former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the SHEROES Forum in Monrovia.

Former president of Malawi, Joyce Hilda Banda, said it is important to promote the rights women and girls and improve women representation across Africa. She said SHEROES will achieve gender equality the African way by respecting men and working in line with them.

“We cannot achieve women participation in leadership by fighting with men but we will engage them and work together. Men and women need to work together to succeed in gender equality, she said.

Banda urged women leaders to invest in a girl child to prepare them to take leadership in the next generation.

She said women were leaders before colonization, adding that it is colonization that caused a setback for them.

Banda said when women are given the chance to lead, they do it differently, clean the mess and the right things are done for the people they lead because they are born leaders and mothers.

She said VP Taylor is one of the four women vice presidents in Africa indicating that giving chance to women is not a favor but an equal level of justice.

One of the delegates at the forum, Madam Sitta Fofana-saah, coordinator of the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia, said she was impressed about the inspirational speeches delivered by great women who have been able to excel to top leadership positions. She believes it would be more important for the organizers of the SHEROES Forum to reach out for the ‘most needy women’ in the rural area and community to help them understand the importance of women being in leadership.

She asked them to work with local women groups built the capacities of those uneducated women because they are also needed in leadership.

“What I know in capacity building, those whose capacities are built, you cannot repeat building their capacity because it will be a waste,” she said.

Ma Kebbeh Mongar, president of Liberia National Rural Women and another delegate at the forum, said the issue of Sexual and Gender Based Violence is a serious issue that has to be discussed from homes, schools, offices before reaching the national level. She said girls are abused by people they know and interact will either at their homes, schools or work places and put the country and parents in difficult positions when it comes to carrying out the needed justice.

President George Weah said Liberia is inspirational when it comes to women representation in leadership. He said his government has produced the first female vice president of Liberia and appointed women to key positions.

Weah promised to introduce a bill that will keep the criminal court operating all year-round to enable those women and girls that are abused get timely justice. “When women do better, the economy does better,” he said.

Flossy Tachie-Menson, Co-Founder of SHEROES Foundation, said she and her sister started the dream to help bring women together and share ideas on things that are stopping them from being in top leadership positions in various arenas.

Tachie-Menson said the aim of the forum is to help women see themselves as leaders and active in a positive direction to make their dreams come alive.

She said Liberia as a nation has done well in promoting women’s representation in leadership but it is important for them to share the ideas with other African women to bring them in the driver’s seat.

Tachie-Menson said the foundation will focus on building the capacity of women and include men to help women get on the path.

7 COMMENTS

  1. With some women leaders misinterpreting the roll of women in a civilized society, only some who have actual lead to the top without a man in control of their destiny. Especially in Africa, the women who are honestly called leaders, do not encourage corruption or unfair political enhancements. They earn majority of the registered voters. Their achievements as ladies are self accomplished from their own activities and not attached to past rebel activities. They earn the respect through loyalty royalty and factual influence. These are the natural women we should select among the few we have in Africa to stand by natural men of such characters to lead us. Presently in Liberia we have just a few not yet in view until the nation come back in place. Many seen now do not qualify are divorced, actively without men and fornicating as a way to acquire wealth and power. This is not the Liberian way. Women well respected and own power in the family, society, and state, are natural women who have such natural men power to show as their first ladies in real elective principle traditional. We pray for the time of founders, when these women will come back to the future of Liberia. Let Liberians know. Not me.
    Gone to silent majority.

  2. Women to lead a Liberian family are married women in Holy matrimony. They have men who believe in on man for one woman. These are actively married to natural men who love. There is no divorce or thought of adultery in their marriage. God put them together to lead the nation. Not to spoil for person gains. Pray for them and Liberia. May the nation know. Do not chat with me.
    In prayers.

  3. During the war and even before some women dead and living today raped teen aged boys and younger and older men at instruments points for sex, money and power. What will the court have to say about this? Is this part of women empowerment? It is not only men that rape. Many women are involved, rape off and say they seek equal rights. Reason why in some African cultures, men will always lead. Pray for Liberia and them. Do not answer me.
    Gone

  4. Forgive me if I do not dance to the tune. Nature and history has taught us that men are the leaders of society. Now, don’t get me wrong, women are and have always being leaders too. In fact a look into history and the present shows that there were and still are powerful women who men tremble at their presence.
    The below was taken from Africa.com:

    “Africa is the birthplace of human civilization, and throughout history, it has been home of some of the world’s most significant leaders. Among those leaders are queens who led their kingdoms with precision and power, and have since left an indelible mark on history. We take a look at some of the most dynamic ancient African queens”
    Queen Aminatu
    Makeda, Queen of Sheba
    Queen Nefertiti
    Queen Ranavalona the First of Madagascar
    Queen Cleopatra of Egypt
    Queen Nandi of the Zulu Kingdom
    President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson (present)

    And the list goes on.

    There have and will always be women leaders like these powerful women but the ideology of equality between men and women does not only put us against God (The Creator) but it is rather quixotic. There will at no point in time be equality between men and women. And this also goes for our geopolitical interaction. We will at no point in time achieve a state of equilibrium where the continent of Africa will interact with European or western nations on a plain field and have a symbiotic relationship. This will not happen. It is either the European or western nations who will be the leaders or Africa will one fine day rise and be the leaders and all other nation will follow. So why fight exhaustively for something that will only remain the figment of your imagination? But I will say this, if somehow we reach equilibrium, women become equal to men, it will throw the whole earth/creation out of balance (if not already). Scripture says in “Psalm 82:5 they know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are out of course”. And those of you who have been paying close attention to the world today can already feel the harmattan wind blowing.

    This whole agenda of equality is a neocolonialism agenda to keep the African man and woman at odd with each other. While the man is on the frontline fighting to regain their continent and their nations back from colonial powers, the woman is now at home saying, I want to be equal to you. An old adage says a nation divided against itself cannot stand and indeed a home divided against itself cannot and will not stand. Time and time again, new agendas are introduced to the African continent by the colonial powers to keep us scrambled. Instead of focusing on our developmental goals, we are ignorantly fixated on fighting each other. This agenda of equality is a distracting factor to Africa and African’s progress.

    There’s no great man and leader who has ever walked the earth that did not come into this world through a woman. They carry us nine months in their belly and eject us with joyful tears. We are fed with the milk from their breasts and looked after like an eagle looking over its nest. Women have been engraved from birth with the most significant and rather painful job than any man can ever hold. Such is the way of the Creator who gives liberally to every man. He (God) has set everything in order as it has pleased Him. Scripture has warned us that what God has put together let no man disannulled. Scripture also said in Proverb 4:1 “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding”. But there are relevant issues that must be addressed, the issue of women abuse around the world. It is time for us to fight for the better treatment of our women and this is a job for every decent man out there. The future depends on women. The continuation of our race depends on women. Who are you to then start to mistreat women? Some men will say, women are this and women are that; women are always going off about something. She pushed me so I pushed her too and she punches me so I punched her too or worse. Who the heck do you think you are to push your mother back because she pushed you? Who the heck do you think you are to punch your mother because she punched you? Or to talk over her because she said something you did not want to hear? So I say this, the disrespect and mistreatment of women must stop. And this fight will not be won just by women speaking out but rather it will be won by decent men standing up and fighting the good fight for women especially African women. African women have endured a lot on this earth be it at the hand African men or at the hand of the white men who enslaved us. It is certainly a blessing from above that they are still here with us moving strong. Every African man should be ashamed of himself to allow the disrespect and mistreatment of African women at home and abroad to continue after what they have being through and continue to go through. If they should stand by us then we must be prepared to fight for them. It is time men start to create programs in communities to fight against abuse and mistreatment of our mothers and Queens. Listen, if we grab couple guys, take them down the street and whop their behinds for disrespecting or beating on their wives, the next time they will think twice before they act.

    But sisters and mothers, we must buy our way out of western agendas. It is destroying the fabric of our nations and societies putting us at odd with our God. When western nations were laying the foundation and building their nations, there was no such thing as the fight for equality and the many other agendas they are now rolling on the African continent today that we are eagerly buying into. In fact, the same people who are shouting today for equality for women were the same people who had you as slaves building their nations. An old adage says if you listen to the voices of the market ground, you will not buy the things which you are there to buy. I look at the world today as a one giant market place and Africa as a poor woman who standing among the crowd looking for what to buy. Everybody is saying, buy this and buy that. My produce is better than that other person. Who are you to listen to? If you must buy then you must shut your ears and make an informed decision. Sadly our political leaders are busy making informed decisions about their personal finances and stakeholders rather than making decisions about their nations and people. It is time that we start judging out political leaders who are running for higher offices by the content of their character and not by how many degrees they have piled up. What have been their contributions to our societies? What programs have they established, what work have done in their community or country, not just recently when they planning to running for office, in the past unto the present. This will show where their heart is and what type of tree they are, whether it be a bad tree or a good tree that will produce good fruits. You must be on the watch on who you elect into higher office to represent you.

  5. When Women today are transforming themselves into men V-S-V, we wonder who is coming with the switch. When some African women have become more masculine than female, we are at extreme why they are assuming the roll of the big brothers or big sister or wives or even fathers. This does not work in Africa. Women of the past who excelled to weighted feminine power and wealth were never transformed not even in their way of life. They were natural females created by God and had not such part of immorality. Read the Ten Commandments they obeyed. The thought come to focus. Did every woman see who brought them to light or did they see what came out of their worm even with today’s technology? When a woman begins to rape babies, male or female, what do we think about her intend to higher positions. A real civilized African woman beats her child up till 15 years. talks, advises for 2 years. At most 18 she begins the child’s freedom of choice. We should refuse women to power who corrupt, commit adultery and pose to be on par with man power. These are not real women these are heathens along side men who have nasty intends. Do not answer me. Tell the people. Pray for them.
    Gone to Silence.

  6. I find it troubling that even in this era women are still treated as lesser than men, based on unscriptural interpretation of the Bible. Nowhere in the Bible does God declare women as lesser. Of course He created distinctions between a man and a woman, but equal with humbled leadership role to man and the role of submissive affirmation of that leadership role given to woman in a marital context, but that was not in the context of one sex superiority over the other.

    In Genesis 1:27, women are said to be created in the image of God just as men are, yet there is a distinction between the two from the beginning. While male and female are both said to be created in the same unique God-given status as “created in His image”, there is an inherent distinction within the human family by virtue of their different sexual roles, and this implies that other distinctions are present. On the account of Day 6 in Genesis 2, the Bible gives a more detailed account of the creation of woman. Up until this point, when God has evaluated His creation, He declared it to be “good”. However, He says that it is “not good” for man to be alone; he needs a “helper corresponding to him” (Genesis 2:18). God essentially states that man by himself is not adequate; this highlights the high value and necessity of women in the biblical view.

    A proper reading of Scripture reveals a high view of women which is ultimately rooted in creation, and when one reads the controversial passages, in their historical context, are in agreement with this high view.

    These women should be encouraged and edified for their achievements and admonished in their endeavors.

  7. When we speak of natural women, we also make reference to what activities they solicit. God made women like men but man being made in the image of God needs no quote in credence. Thus the reference made by the creator is strictly a natural image. Now a days some men have become women in their own images defying she for he and he for she. Why? Because men want to control the destiny of greater men and get killed or massacre in the genesis of humanity. Impunity is dangerous. We must wipe it off. It is only God who controls the process of what we inherit and how we inherit it. We should therefore acknowledge that it is from part natural man that a woman was made. Another reason why we co-exist. A natural Liberian woman who stays in her space has her own place with other natural distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the universe. The point is that some do not deserve this extended privilege because of their enhanced, not necessarily inherited, immorality. Thus making them lesser creatures to themselves. Reply the people. Not me.
    In silent meditation

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