An Open Letter to Women of Liberia
.... In Commemoration of International Women’s Day (IWD) from the President of the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), and in Recognition and Appreciation of Women for Immeasurable Contributions to the Liberian State.
Dear Women of Liberia,
On behalf of the Federation of Liberian Youth and in celebration of International Women's Day, I write this open letter to express our heartfelt appreciation for the immeasurable contributions you make towards the growth and development of our country.
We recognize that women in Liberia play vital roles in all sectors of society. From being mothers and caretakers in the home, to being leaders in the workplace, to being trailblazers in politics and governance, women have demonstrated their exceptional abilities to lead and bring about positive change.
Today, as we celebrate International Women's Day, we want to take a moment to celebrate you and all that you do. We want to acknowledge your hard work, your dedication, your perseverance, and your unwavering commitment to excellence.
As the first female President in the history of the Federation of Liberian Youth, I want to assure you that I am committed to creating an enabling environment that supports the empowerment and advancement of women and girls in Liberia. I recognize that when women thrive, our country thrives.
However, I am deeply concerned about the lack of women's representation in the Liberian Legislature. Despite being half of the population, women are severely underrepresented in the decision-making bodies of our country. This situation is unacceptable and requires urgent action.
As President of FLY, I recognize the important role that women play in shaping our society and advancing our nation's development. As such, I call on the Liberian government to take concrete steps to increase the representation of women in the Legislature.
One way to achieve this goal is to implement affirmative action policies that prioritize women's candidacy in elections. Additionally, the government must provide support and resources to women candidates to enable them to compete on a level playing field with their male counterparts. This could include financial support, training, and mentoring.
Furthermore, I urge political parties to prioritize women's participation in their internal decision-making processes and encourage their membership to support women candidates in elections. It is time for all Liberians to recognize that women's representation in the Legislature is not only a matter of social justice but also crucial for our nation's progress and development.
I believe that increasing women representation in leadership is not just the responsibility of government, this is why early next month, FLY will announce a new initiative committed to promoting the platforms of women candidates during elections. This initiative aims to make women candidates more visible and popular with voters by highlighting their policy positions and promoting their campaigns.
FLY recognizes that women's political participation is crucial for a democratic society and the development of our country. However, we also acknowledge that women face significant barriers to entry in politics, including social and cultural norms, lack of resources and support, and gender-based violence and discrimination.
To address these challenges, FLY's new initiative, the 50/50 Gender Equality Initiative, will provide support to women candidates by promoting their policy positions and campaigns through various media platforms, including social media, radio, and TV. We will also engage with voters to raise awareness of the importance of women's participation in politics and the benefits of electing women to decision-making positions.
Additionally, we will work with political parties to promote women's participation in their internal decision-making processes and encourage them to support women candidates in elections. We believe that by working together, we can create an inclusive and equitable political environment that empowers women to participate fully in our democracy.
In conclusion, FLY calls on all Liberians to support the cause of increasing women's representation in the Legislature. It is time for us to take bold steps towards achieving gender equality in our country's governance structures.
FLY committed to supporting initiatives that promote gender equality, address gender-based violence, and empower women and girls to take on leadership roles in society. We will continue to work with our partners and stakeholders to ensure that our programs and policies are gender-sensitive and inclusive.
Once again, on behalf of the Federation of Liberian Youth, I wish you a happy International Women's Day. May your future be bright and your dreams come true.
Banica Stephenie Elliott