Sen. Doe-Sheriff Pushes for Increased Female Participation in 2017 Elections

PAYNESVILLE, Montserrado – Montserrado Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff has challenged women to play a major role in the upcoming 2017 elections.

She made the statement last Thursday when she paid a visit to the new home of the Liberia Women Media Action Committee in Paynesville’s Baptist Seminary community.

According to her, the role of women remains critical in building a strong future for Liberia, adding “Just like men, women too can contribute immensely to the progress of our country.”

She said while the law has been proposed to guarantee an increase in female political participation, it is important for the women themselves to take the lead.

The senator said women currently constitute only 10 percent of the entire Legislature, which she considered an insignificant amount, especially in light of international treaties Liberia has signed to increase female representation.

Doe-Sheriff said just as there are competent and incompetent men, there are also competent and incompetent women. She called on her fellow lawmakers to support a proposed gender parity bill.

“This time, the men must support us too,” she said. “For too long we have supported the men while they have kept us in the back, but this is our time.” She suggested that women would relax their support for a male leadership if they are not supported in their struggle for increased political participation.

In 2010, the Female Legislative Caucus, a group comprising of female lawmakers, proposed a law to promote gender equity in Liberia’s politics.

The Gender Equality Act sought to have at least 30 percent of elected offices occupied by women.

Last year, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf also committed Liberia to one of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to ensure increased participation of women in politics.

The president pledged to ensure that the ongoing constitution reform process would guarantee women’s full participation in governance and national affairs on a parity basis.

At the Gbarnga Constitution Review Conference, Liberian women proposed five critical issues be captured in the amended constitution. Among those issues was a stipulation that the 30 percent quota originally proposed in the gender parity bill be increased to 50 percent in both the private and public sectors.

Featured photo by Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. In 2017, Senah won three Press Union of Liberia awards: Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Land Rights Reporter of the Year. In 2018, he was also recognized as the Land Rights Reporter of the Year.

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