‘We Cannot Have a Senate Without Women’

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Marie Gareth Nizigama, UN Women Liberia country: "UN Women has not given any money before and will not give money to any candidate or implementing partner."

UN Women pledges more support to female senatorial candidates

UN Women Liberia on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, held a virtual meeting with female candidates vying for seats in the upcoming December 8 senatorial elections, to clarify the support that the organization can provide to all female candidates.

Yesterday’s meeting follows an earlier meeting convened by the national chapter of the Africa Women Leaders Network to showcase candidates who are vying for office and to provide a platform for them to solicit support.

From the several needs identified, UN Women committed to supporting all female candidates with 500 t-shirts and two megaphones per candidate. UN Women also vowed to provide platforms for all female candidates to share their manifestoes and campaign messages through various media platforms that include radio and social media.

UN Women will also work with a communications company to popularize key messages on the right of women to politically contest, vote, provide the facts on the status of women representation in the Senate, and of having a gender balance in the legislature.

The initiative is targeted at influencing positive behavior change and perception towards women’s leadership and participation in elections.

Marie Gareth Nizigama, UN Women Liberia country representative, used the platform to clarify to all female candidates that UN Women will provide the same support to all female candidates without discrimination or preference.

She also clarified that UN Women has not given any money before and will not give money to any candidate or implementing partner, including the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to distribute to candidates vying for elected posts.

“In all its work of supporting women’s political participation and supporting female candidates, UN Women is guided by the laws of the country and UN regulations,” Ms. Nizigama emphasized.

The Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Alice Howard, urged all candidates to desist from spreading false information, but instead verify it before sharing it in the public domain to protect their image and that of other stakeholders.

Ambassador Marjon Kamara, Chairperson of the local chapter of the African Women Leadership Network, told female candidates who attended the virtual meeting that the road is not going to be easy, but urged them to fight for female representation in the Senate. Her sentiments were echoed by Ms. Nizigama who highlighted, “We cannot have a Senate without women. UN Women is committed to promoting the participation of women in elections for increased female representation in the Senate.”

To ensure a free environment that is conducive for increased participation of women in elections and politics, UN Women supported the National Elections Commission to develop a protocol to address issues of violence against women in elections and politics.

Female candidates who attended the meeting were appreciative of the support and clarifications provided during the meeting. However, they noted that the support was not enough as most female candidates do not have ‘free money’ to distribute as is the case with their male counterparts.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Liberia has had Angie Brooks-Randolph ( she refused to carry the name of her husband Mr. Randolph), we have had Ruth Perry, and of course we had Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. We have our current Vice President of Liberia Jewel Howard-Taylor. We have had presidents of the University of Liberia that were also women. Numerous Managing directors and Ministers of Government and Mayors and members of the House of Representatives have all been women. Nurses, public school teachers are all women. Today we have a woman running our Ministry of Agriculture. We have women that are Lawyers, Doctors, Dentists, phen-phen drivers, truck drivers. The ‘real Liberia economy” that controls food and trading is dominated by the Liberia Marketing Association that is predominantly female. Our Ministries of Finance, Commerce, Fisheries, National Port Authority and National Oil Refinery have all been headed by women,.
    So please explain to me why the United Nations and so many power-seeking individuals in Liberia, are pushing a FALSE NARRATIVE and engaging in the Politics of Division?
    In a small country like Liberia, we need our meagre resources to go to developing ALL OUR PEOPLE.

  2. Again, this approach looks like the same old failed “projects” of helping a developing country thrive in its true developmental initiatives. By this, I mean the approach of “from the top, to the bottom” and not the other way around. I truly do not know the “UN Women Liberia Country”, or whatever the real name is. If this organization is a branch of the United Nations, honestly, I do not know its real purpose in a country like Liberia.

    Liberia is a republic which has a democratic form of government. The national constitution of the country sets up and breathes life into this form of government. The Greek root “demo” in the word democracy means “people”, and the suffix “cracy” means or denotes, broadly, a particular form of government, rule, or influence; hence we have various forms of government: autocracy, kleptocracy, plutocracy, et cetera, and et cetera. But our Liberian constitution states that our form of government is a democracy.

    Having stated the above, voting and/or running for political office is, in fact, participating in our democracy. And this participation comes from the people who are indeed the grassroots of our body politic, in other words, the citizens of Liberia. If the “UN Women Liberia Country”; or whatever its real name is, were organized by the United Nations to assist women in developing countries as Liberia, wouldn’t it be prudent to go where 95% of the Liberian women are situated in the country, geographically, socially, and economically in order to truly develop their full potentials?

    Liberians know, without pretense, where the overwhelming majority of Liberian women are situated in this body politic. We know what they are preoccupied with during most of their day’s activities. We know which areas they need help most in order to make better their livelihood and that of their respective families.

    Finally, as for running for any elected national office (any political office), the decision lies with the electorate, the citizens of the land. this electorate is found in the villages, the hamlets, the towns, the cities, and the counties of the nation. If more attention is payed to developing the lot of our young girls and adult women in their mundane preoccupations today, wherever they are, it could better position them to fully participate in the national democracy – that includes, increasing their numbers in the legislative branch of government.

  3. The thought or statement itself, whether rhetorical or not, is lackadaisical, taking into account the fact that there is no law prohibiting the election of women to the Senate. Or are Marjon Kamara and Marie Gareth Nizigama trying to give the wrong impression that Liberia is as Saudi Arabia where women have just been given the right to ride bicycle, with their driving of car been shelved for the next century?

    Focus on the exponential growth of women and girls in academia, and then, their political consciousness shall become automatic as shall be their charismatic political dynamism to the Liberian electorate within the 165 administrative divisions, and 68 electoral districts from Wakorlor and Bendaja etc in Great Cape Mount to Towabli in Mighty Grand Gedeh, and from Plebo in superwondeful Maryland to Mnawulu and Guekedou in indomitable Lofa.

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