Liberian women are calling on their male counterparts to help provide constitutional support for their quest for gender responsive and children’s rights through the upcoming referendum.
Speaking Thursday at the regular Ministry of Information press briefing in Monrovia, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Julia Duncan Casell, said Liberian women are eager to see their male counterparts giving them support to ensure that the Constitution provides women’s rights for the betterment of Liberia.
“We are of the view that the inclusion of a strong gender agenda in the new constitution will move this country forward a long way in creating gender equality for men and women,” she noted.
The support of the men in addressing these cardinal issues will help everyone in building a stronger and happier social fabric and enhance Liberia’s development agenda, she maintained.
“We want a Constitution that protects all persons from discrimination, irrespective of gender, marital status, health status, age, disability and circumstances of birth. We want a Constitution that specifically and explicitly guarantees the protection and promotion of women’s rights and children’s rights,” Madam Casell challenged.
According to her, “Liberian women are eagerly anticipating their issues being raised by women at the various Constitution reform gatherings, including town hall meetings, conferences and nationwide consultations such as the National Constitution Conference which opened yesterday in Gbarnga, Bong County.”
They also want the Constitution to guarantee equal representation of women and men in all elected, selected or appointed positions in both private and public sectors and there must be a fair representation of persons living with disability as well, said the gender Minister.
“We want a Constitution that protects the institution of marriage in Liberia. In this regard, we want a Constitution that protects individuals from forced marriage and recognizes the three types of marriages as statutory, including customary and common law.”
“We want political parties to ensure that not more than fifty percent of elected and appointed positions shall be of the same gender. It is the responsibility of political parties to ensure the fulfillment of this provision,” declared Madam Casell.
The Minister said this constitution review is very crucial not just for the present generation, but for generations of children yet unborn, who will have a chance to make right the many wrongs our forebears underwent.