Women Leaders Honored for Gender Advocacy Role

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Martha Karnga (second from right) in the middle with the red dress and Etweda Cooper in with the pink dress (third from right)

As side attractions of International Women’s Day continue since Monday, the Women’s NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL) has honored three esteemed women who have impacted the nation in different sectors.

The women at an event held in Monrovia under the title, “Celebrating women’s leadership in commemoration of the International Women’s Day,” honored Madam Amelia Ward, Martha Karnga, and Etweda Cooper for their hard work in ensuring the return and sustenance of peace in Liberia after 14 years of civil unrest. 

The elderly women, who play key roles in peace mediation among warring factions in Liberia, are also noted for the fight for gender equality, a concept of providing equal opportunities for both men and women, boys and girls, to exercise their talents and realize their potentials.

 Due to illness Madam Amelia Ward could not attend the honoring ceremony, but was represented by Madam Frances Greaves, former Chairperson of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia.

Those women were also honored for their long services and devotion to WONGOSOL and the women of Liberia. The colorful event on March 11, 2021, and brought together women from diverse professional and occupational backgrounds including politics, business and advocacy.  

One of the honorees, Martha Karnga said that women should be included into leadership at every level to ensure that the voices of women are heard in key national decisions that will impact their lives.

Madam Karnga also acknowledged the level of support that women are giving those female candidates who contested in the December Senatorial Election but are in a legal battle with their male counterparts over frauds and irregularities.

She also reminded that there are women who have broken barriers in many sectors that need to be recognized for their work, and as such, WONGOSOL should reach out to them whether it is from the traditional settling or business (market women).  

Madam Karnga said, “It is good that you have been able to honor me alone with other women today for the work that we have done in ensuring women know their rights, but all I can tell you is that, please ensure that this honor should not stay with me alone but should go to other women in other counties whose contributions need recognition.”

Etweda Cooper, one of the honorees who struggle to speak due to old age, told the women in Leadership to remember that there is a young woman that is observing their style of leadership, and therefore they should lead with distention and integrity.

She said seeing lot of new and brave faces into advocacy in Liberia makes her feel that she has succeeded in ensuring that women understand what their rights are.

“There are lot of critics for women,” she said, “What we allow men to do, women are criticized for them, but we should not be afraid because they are our sons and husbands, and that is the reason they come to us at night and we made the real decision,” said Madam Cooper.

Madam Cooper said, “My time is over; it is your time now because I will not be here (on earth) with you for long.  As you still have the strength to do some of those things we did, it is important to do it rightly for other women to come.”

 Edith Gongloe-Weh, Nimba county embattled senatorial candidate, said the decision to honor women who have impacted other women positively worth commending.

Gongloe-Weh said it is through the intervention of the honorees and others that women are occupying the Legislature and other offices today.  She noted also that the peace that Liberia enjoys today came from the efforts of brave women.

“Young women of Liberia, this is time to learn from those women who have impacted the society because if the country fails, we all fails.  That is why it is proven around the world that women do their best when they are in leadership,” she said.

Madam Greaves who represented Amelia Ward said there is a need to write the history of the impact that women have made relating to peace and the growth of women to inform the upcoming generation.

She said to achieve in the fight for gender equality, women should be able to rise up and be truthful.   

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