Women working under the banner, UN-Women, on Tuesday, January 29, 2019, commenced a four-day leadership seminar on Gender Equality and Women’s Right for legislators, members of the executive branch and representatives of civil society actors in the country. It will end on Friday, February 1, 2019.
The seminar is being hosted in Ganta, the commercial hub of Nimba County.
In separate remarks, two executives of the UN-Women Dr. Mary Okumu, Country Office Representative, and Madam Rebecca Clarke, said the training is structured with an objective to deepen knowledge of the participants in order for them to understand and/or transform leadership and how the transformed leadership can advance gender equality goals.
The two UN-Women officials explained that the event will drill the participants through the methodology of practical exercises, understanding and applying concepts and doing introspection so as to find out what type of leaders they are, and to help them achieve their institutional goals as it relates to gender equality perspective.
As for the objectives, the UN-Women executives said the workshop is meant to build commitment, capacity and confidence of senior managers and decision makers, to lead for gender equality, to strengthen participants’ use of gender inclusive conduct, transform leadership practice in organization settings, to engage participants in identifying institutional gender biases and ways to address them.
They said other aspects the exercise will consider will include creating a safe, respectful and supportive environment for participants to share their experiences, learn from each other and form cohorts that foster peer-to-peer encouragement and insights.
Dr. Okumu said: “Since 2018, the UN-Women office in Liberia has been engaged with public actors in governance [concerning] all forms of discrimination against women and gender mainstreaming.”
On policy reform, the two UN-Women officials said on the table of Liberian policy debate is the issue of child marriage and how to end female genital mutilation (FGM), adding, it will take incredibly informed people and a leadership that is inclusive, to debate the bill at the Legislature and to get the people’s consensus.
“Policy comes from the experiences of people and lawmakers, and decision-makers are there to make the decision in the best interest of the masses,” the UN-Women said.
Augustine Kamokai, Assistant Coordinator for Gender at the National Disaster Management Office, expressed the hope to increase women’s participation at the institution.
“At the end of this training exercise, our department will recommend to top management that the focus on women’s participation be prioritized,” Kamokai said.
Madam Dorothy Kwenah Tooman, former director of the Development Education Network-Liberia (DEN-L), expressed total optimism that the training will serve as eye opener for some of the leaders to address gender-based issues confronting the society.
“Some of us have attended such seminars; therefore, I am hoping that this one will bring a unique value to us as leaders and that it will dive into our collective selves to give new knowledge,” Madam Tooman said.
On the issue of gender gap at some institutions, Madam Tooman said the selection of staff and opportunities not offered to women are some factors responsible for the low participation of women in other organizations.
River Cess County Electoral District #1 Representative, Rosana Glaypohkpay Schaack, was the only lawmaker who attended the opening ceremony of the event.