Stakeholders drawn from 15 Counties in Liberia are expected to take part in mock Parliament sessions to be held throughout the month of August starting from Thursday, 12 August and ending on 27 August 2021.
The mock Parliament sessions will be held in Grand Bassa (12 and 13 August 2021), Grand Gedeh (16 and 17 August), Nimba (18 and 19 August), Margibi (20 and 21 August) and Bomi (26 and 27 August) respectively. Participants will comprise County leaders, academics, Parliamentarians, political party leaders, representatives of Civil Society Organisations and members of the Judiciary, among others.
The mock Parliament sessions are aimed at promoting and strengthening collaboration mechanisms and advocating for an increase in women’s political participation through inclusion of the enforceable 30 percent gender quota provision in the Liberia election law. The provision will make it mandatory for political parties to adhere to the 30 percent quota for women.
In addition, the mock sessions provide an opportunity for people at the grassroots level including, women and youths as well as community leaders to have insights on the need and benefits of having more women in decision-making positions and on how bills are debated in Parliament.
“We hope that, by bringing the parliament to the people, communities are provided with a platform to understand how their recommendations for legal reforms are translated into law by their representatives,” says Marie Goreth Nizigama, UN Women Liberia, Country Representative.
“It also gives them a chance to understand how the law makers prioritise and present their need for a critical mass of women in politics and advocate for inclusion of the enforceable 30 percent gender quota in the elections law,” says Ms. Nizigama.
In Liberia, women make up half the population, but they are grossly underrepresented in politics as evidenced by the number of seats that they occupy in the Legislature. There are currently eight women in the House of Representatives out of 73 and there are two women in the Senate out of 30.
However, in an effort to increase the number of women in politics and decision making positions, Liberia has committed to take action to increase women’s political participation and representation by signing and ratifying a number of international and regional human rights instruments including the UN Convention on the Elimination of All forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW), the International Convention on Civil and Political rights (ICCPR), the African Charter on Human and people’s rights (ACHPR), the protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights of women in Africa (ACHPR-PW), the African Charter on democracy, elections and governance (ACDEG), the Ecowas protocol on democracy and good governance (PDGG), among other protocols.
Despite the commitments made, some gaps still exist. gap, UN Women is supporting the government of Liberia to bridge the gap.
“As the Ministry responsible for the empowerment of women, we are delighted to partner with the Women’s Legislative Caucus of Liberia, WONGOSOL, National Elections Commission and women at the grassroots level to bring a spotlight on the importance of empowering women to participate in politics and leadership positions,” Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, Williametta Saydee-Tarr expressed.
Considering this, UN Women is providing technical and financial support to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and other partners, to host mock Parliament sessions that will comprise of an opening session and the mock Parliament session.