Women in Nimba, especially those from affected mining communities in Nimba, have expressed concern about their absence from the leadership of local government, which they say prevents them from participating in important decisions in the county.
Making the disclosure at a one-day conference hosted by a local civil society organization known as the Community For Peace Development Advocacy (COPDA), held recently in Sanniquellie, the women said their absence in local leadership leaves them speechless in any county decision-making process.
“We deserve the same political rights and the same decision-making as our male counterparts,” the women said.
COPDA, a Yekepa-based organization, implements a program known as “Promoting Women’s Participation in Political Leadership and Accountability in Anti-Money Laundering Communities”, with support from National Empowerment for Democracy / NED, based in Washington.
The conference brought together women from the nine affected mining communities, including Gbapa, Zolowee, Sehyi-Geh, Mankinto, Bolo, Camp-4, Liagbala, Lugbeyee and Bonah.
In her remarks, the executive director of the Special Emergency Activity to Restore Hope for Children (SEARCH), Atty. Sondah Geepea-Wilson, also supported women, saying the limited number of women in local government is another form of gender
“Even not having any representation of women in local government as well as in the 54th Legislative Caucus in Nimba is unfair,” she said.
“It is a total shame and wickedness for a large county like Nimba, with more than half a million inhabitants, to have only one female chieftain and only two female mayors,” she said. declared.
“Are we not educated too? she asked rhetorically.
“Why should women be denied the opportunity to get government positions in this way? This is a deliberate attempt by the men in the county to discourage the education of women. “
Ms Wilson said there is a serious need for the nation to change such an ugly mindset about women and to think about including them in key decision-making.
Ms Wilson, who has been a key facilitator on the occasion, calls on society as a whole to create space for women to prove themselves, as Liberia’s development depends on everyone, including women .
Nimba County Coordinator for the Ministry of Gender Yah Belleh-Suah instead urged women to join their male counterparts across the country and make efforts to gain greater influence, if they are to achieve their goals. .
She said that over the years, women haven’t done much to compete with their male counterparts, despite huge global support. She urged women to be very strong.
The administration of Nimba County and the leadership of the project management committee are dominated by men, a scenario that women see as marginalization and isolation.
Meanwhile, Community For Peace Development Advocacy (COPDA) executive director Ted Brooks assured women of his organization’s support for their advocacy for participation and inclusion, telling society that women deserve the space and the opportunities to deliver.