UN Women, GC Launch Institutional Gender Policy

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UN Women Country Representative Nizigama (right) hands over Gender Policy Document to Madam Elizabeth Dorkin, OIC, Governance Commission.

— Says Women Make Up 25% of the total employees while men made up 75%

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women-Liberia, has launched an Institutional Gender Policy (IGP) in partnership with the Government through the Governance Commission (GC).

The policy, launched on Monday, February 10, 2020, in the Governance Commission conference room, is intended for Government to engage a process of building sustainable peace and economic development through a system of governance that is gender-sensitive, participatory, and accountable, as well as enhance a strong sense of national reconciliation and unity.

The document seeks to eliminate all forms of gender inequity, mainstream gender in all facets of national life, and strengthen gender equality in the participation of women and men in socio-economic development.

The Governance Commission is the institution responsible for championing and driving reforms towards these ends.

Youngor Johnson-Nah, Gender and Resource Center Coordinator at the Governance Commission, said the national policy directs that agencies, ministries and autonomous Commissions adopt institution-specific gender policies in lines with the national framework.

“This gender policy is in compliance with this mandate. It is also in support of international gender frameworks to which Liberia is either a signatory or has acceded to including the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 1995, the African Union’s Gender Strategy and Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want (2015),” she said.

Johnson-Nah said that the policy was also developed through a participatory process that entailed a consultant facilitating consultations at various levels of the institution, undertaking literature reviews, and benchmarking research to learn valuable lessons from the experiences of other countries.

The policy, she said, sets out the goal, objectives and core principles of the Commission relative to Gender but, of paramount importance, it establishes policy commitments in identified priority areas.

Gender inequality in Liberia is a widespread issue that has affected especially women and girls.  In most instances women’s participation in decision making or performing certain tasks has been rare.

These perceptions and beliefs, according to her, are occasioned by culture and traditions which, regrettably, inform and direct behaviors in families, schools, communities, and workplaces.

Johnson-Nah also used the occasion to extend appreciation to UN Women for the long time partnership. “We also appreciate Sweden and EU for their support through the LDSP Program. We look forward to working with them and partners to implement the Action Plan in the policy.”

She reaffirmed that men and women are equal; men and women equally contribute to the achievement of the commission’s mandate and to the socio-economic development of Liberia.

Earlier on, UN Women Country Representative, Ms. Marie Goreth Nizigama, thanked the senior management of the Governance Commission for taking ownership and leading the development of its gender policy which will serve as a blueprint for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Commission.

“We are happy that we could provide this technical and financial support towards this initiative. Special thanks go to the Embassy and people of Sweden for supporting this process,” she said.

Ms. Nizigama said the Governance Commission has taken several steps to demonstrate its commitment to promoting gender equality in the workplace.

She said: “This is highlighted through its policy frameworks by establishing a Gender Unit and assigning a Policy Analyst (Mrs. Youngor Johnson) who has benefited from UN Women’s training in and out of Liberia.”

Ms. Nizigama said as per the gender assessment conducted last year (August 2019) of the Governance Commission, women made up 25% of the total employees while men made up 75%.

“This points out that there is a need for much more attention to the recruitment of women by putting required measures in place through the effective implementation of gender policy. This will bring about strategies to institutionalize measures and necessary re-arrangements of operational procedures and internal policies to promote gender equality and enhance women participation in decision-making levels and processes,” she added.

Elizabeth Dorkin, GC officer-In-Charge (OIC), who congratulated the UN Women and the Sweden Embassy, said the government of Liberia attaches serious importance to the issue of gender. The launch of this gender policy, she said, is a clear indication of the Governance Commission’s commitment to fulfilling this obligation.

At the same time, GC Program Coordinator, Mr. McNeil Wilson, said UN Women was very instrumental in ensuring that we were able to get this policy document today.

“We as a government and particularly as an institution are very deeply indebted to the Swedish Government and its Ambassador near Monrovia… you have been very helpful in supporting this government at large and of course the Governance Commission. So, as a result of your country’s support to our country we have been able to arrive at where we are today,” he said.

Mr. Wilson said the process is such that the Government of Liberia takes seriously, particularly the issues of gender equity, gender inequality, etc…

Meanwhile, the gender policy document was launch by Mr. Roosevelt S. Klafleh, Assistant Gender Minister for Research, Policy and Planning.

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