Ahead of the 2017 General and Presidential Elections, the Liberia National Women’s Political Forum (LNWPF), the Coalition of Political Parties’ Women in Liberia (COPPWL) and the Women’s Legislative Caucus (WLC) have issued strong messages calling for more women as candidates on the tickets of political parties.
At a day-long strategic dialogue session organized by the three institutions, with support from the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the leaders of the groups said the 2017 election is the time to enforce section 4.5 of Liberia’s Elections Law, which calls on political parties to endeavor to have no less than 30 percent of their members from each gender, according to a press release.
Leaders of 19 political parties that attended the strategic dialogue session affirmed their institutions’ commitment to supporting the candidacy of women aspirants in achieving the 30 percent threshold of women as candidates of political parties during the 2017 General and Presidential Elections.
Commissioner Sarah Toe of the National Elections Commission, in her remarks during the session said the Commission will reject political parties that fail to adhere to the 30 percent threshold.
Addressing participants at the session, Mrs. Ruth G. Caesar, the National Coordinator of the Liberia Women’s National Political Forum, commended party leaders for their initial announcement of support toward increasing the number of women candidates on their parties’ tickets but stressed the importance of following up to ensure that they deliver on their commitments.
The Officer-in-Charge and Deputy Representative of UN Women Liberia, Mr. Peterson Magoola, urged the women aspirants to remain steadfast and keep the momentum in engaging various actors for support to increase women’s representation in all spheres of the Liberian society. He also reminded the participants that more work needs to be done to reduce the huge gap between men and women in the areas of governance and politics.
Meanwhile, Liberian media executives have promised to create a favorable media environment sensitive to the different issues around access to the media for women during elections, and negative and unprofessional coverage of women candidates.
The disclosure was made by Press Union of Liberia President Charles Coffey at an interactive strategic media dialogue between journalists, leaders of political parties and women aspirants held at the Monrovia City Hall.
The overall objective of the session was to provide a platform for women aspirants and media executives to engage on how the opportunities provided by the media can be maximized during the 2017 General and Presidential Elections.