— Sara Beysolow Nyanti urges Liberian women in light of proposed Legislative quota
Sara Beysolow Nyanti, a Liberian diplomat with the United Nations, stationed in Nepal, has urged Liberian women to unite and support other women who are making positive contributions locally and internationally.
Madam Nyanti believes that women have continued to make significant impacts in so many professional fields and in the public and private positions breaking the glass ceiling. In so doing, she said, women must unite to promote and support one another.
“Women must promote women. Women must champion women because there are so many Liberian women out there who are doing,” she said.
The statement by Madam Nyanti is not new in Liberia, especially at a time when women are pushing for equal rights to political decision-making and representation. They have always advocated for more women’s representation in government with a bill being submitted to the Legislature seeking 30 percent of seats for women in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Recently, MacDella Cooper, the political leader of the Movement for One Liberia (MOL), stated that instead of 30 percent, women ought to be given 50 percent and the perception that women are not qualified should be abolished.
Sara Beysolow Nyanti, who was appointed on January 6, 2021, by UN Secretary-General António Guterres as United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nepal said, “When I was appointed by the Secretary-General, I asked myself, how come? But what I know is that we women don’t talk about each other and can hardly support what our friends are doing.”
Speaking at a well-organized birthday party held in her honor by the women of Liberia in Sinkor at a local resort, Madam Nyanti said “Liberian women have been leading in local government leadership, journalism, and others. We have women breaking all kinds of ceilings. We have female mechanics, engineers, and entrepreneurs.”
The celebration was held under the theme, ‘Celebrating Liberian Women Leaders,’ and was dedicated to Sara’s accomplishments in the UN.
Prior to her appointment in Nepal, She served as Representative of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Yemen, and spearheaded the provision of cash assistance to nine million people, after occupying a similar position in The Gambia.
She also held leadership positions across the United Nations in Jordan, Namibia, Nepal and Nigeria, working in multiple sectors and agencies on key issues such as Ebola response coordination.
Before becoming a UN diplomat, Madam Nyanti served as the Director of Liberia’s National AIDS Control Program at the Ministry of Health, where she authored the country’s first Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria funding for the national AIDS response and led the development and subsequent legislation of the national AIDS policy, guidelines and law.
According to her, women have excelled because other women who were there before them paved the way to make sure that women coming after them could excel beyond expectation.
“I am on the stage now because some were there before. And after us, who will be there at the end of the day? There are so many women who will come after us.”
“Liberian women are doing a lot. The Secretary-General does not know their names, but they exist. Whether it is the woman frying pepper kala to send her children to school, women are making an impact.”
According to her, young girls growing up are depending on elderly women. They are being raped. They are being violated, they are being stolen. “Honoring me this evening is a call to action for all of us to look at ourselves and each other and as we have stood on the backs and shoulders of those who went before us. Others have to come and stand on our shoulders so that we can build the bridge and maintain it.”
Attendees at the party included female lawyers, heads of civil society organizations, NGOs, entrepreneurs, friends, relatives, family members, former classmates of madam Nyanti, and other dignitaries, including Swedish Ambassador Ingrid Wetterqvist and Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor.
VP Taylor said that just as the women came together to support Senator Botoe Kanneh against all odds, they should do the same in 2023. “I think we will put up a group of women in 2023. The lappa revolution will become a reality because the truth is, the decisions are made in the national Legislature.”
She thanked the women for gathering to honor Madam Nyanti, which according to her will encourage other women to continue good works.
VP Taylor said if the Legislature, which is the first branch of government, does not have a serious threshold of women to shake things, then women will continue to complain because that is where decisions are made.
“We hope that early, not later, we can now identify those women who want to run in 2023 and be able to work in your various areas so, by the time we get to 2023, we can at least have one woman in each of the counties.”
“We have counties that have never had women because the fact is we have 50% of the votes. So, anyone we put out, we can decide we will elect all women in 2023 because it is in the legislature that changes will be made for our country”.
Ingrid Wetterqvist, Swedish Ambassador to Liberia, said the women of Liberia used action to resolve their aggression in electing Senator Kanneh, and therefore the same aggression should be used in another election to see more women taking elective seats.
She promised that her embassy, through the feminist policy, will continue to support the women of Liberia.