LIBERIA: Women Legislature Caucus Demands Equal Participation of Women in Liberia

Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Western Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security

The Female legislative Caucus of Liberia's National Legislature says it will shortly introduce a parity bill.

The bill, according to the chair of the Female Legislative Caucus Representative Josephine Francis (UP- District #1 Montserrado County), will promote equal participation of women and men at the level of the Legislature and in other places of work.

Francis Said: "I will like to make it known to all of you here today that we are set and ready to introduce the parity bill in the plenary of the House of Representative on Thursday. This bill comes a long way after series of meetings and forums with women across the landscape of this country."

Speaking at the dedication of the secretariat of the Women legislature Caucus Representative Francis said, the secretariat will institutionalize the Women Legislative Caucus and make it more vibrant.

Nigeria's Ambassador to Liberia Madam Chigozie ObiNnadozie said the dedication of the secretariat of the female legislature Caucus of Liberia is a symbol of the commitment of the current female lawmakers in promoting the issue of women participation in all sectors of the country.

The Pro-Temp of the Senate Gbehzohngar Findley expressed his delight over the opening of the female caucus offices at the capitol building. He said male lawmakers cannot work without the participation of their female counterparts in moving the country toward a better path.

Said Findley: "Working with you has been a joy for all of us that have gender issues that we are concerned about in this country and we know that you are much more organized now and you have become a force in the legislature. We hope that, that force will manufacture itself into reality of development and growth for our Nation and its people. We believe that without the involvement of the female legislature this legislature will not be strong."

Findley promised to support the parity bill if introduced at the legislature once the bill is Gender indiscriminative. The speaker of the House of Representative Alex Tyler stressed the need to encourage women in their effort to ensure that there is a balance of power and at the level of the legislature. Tyler promised to support the women upcoming bill but in the confines of his authority and promised to also balance all the issues.

Tyler said: "We are supportive, but like we always said to you,as we want to encourage competition so we will try to work with your bill. So don't go thinking that you have presented a bill that has to do with parity and it has passed.

There will be a lot of work to be done, lot of things are to be considered before we arrive there. Just as we have done with other legislations, we will make sure that the bill is scrutinized to ensure that it balances gender issues."

The 53rd National Legislature currently has 13 female at both houses with five at the Senate and eight at the House of Representatives. The bill was first introduced at the Legislature with women calling for 30% participation in the legislature but that bill was defeated and sent back to the crafters to be revised because according to the 52nd legislature, the bill was ambiguous and did not address the issue of Gender holistically.

The bill if passed into law will see Liberia will joining her African counterpart, Senegal which currently promotes equal participation of women in National decision making.