MONROVIA, Montserrado — The Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, has encouraged the media in Liberia to promote platforms for female engagement.
Mlambo-Ngcuka said in order to increase women’s participation in politics and key national issues, the media must provide the space for women to discuss their interests.
“There is a lot of information in the broadcasting world which is not customized for women’s needs, especially for women in rural areas, women health, motivating women to be entrepreneurs, etc.,” she said.
She made the announcement on Saturday, February 27th during a visit to the Liberia Women Democracy Radio in the Baptist Seminary Community near Monrovia. The visit of the UN Under-Secretary-General was aimed at assessing the work of the radio station as part of her mission to Liberia.
LWDR was launched by the Liberia Women Media Action Committee or LIWOMAC in 2010 to promote women’s rights and development in Liberia. It received funding from the United Nations Democracy Fund and UNIFEM, now the UN Women.
The UN envoy praised LIWOMAC for its efforts in amplifying the voices of women. “I want to congratulate you for having this radio station as a beacon of light for women,” she said.
Mlambo-Ngcuka stressed the power of the media to transform society through information.
“Women get manipulated, sometimes divided, made to support people that do not represent their interest, because sometimes they do not have alternative information to sift what is good for them,” she said.
She assured LIWOMAC of UN Women’s partnership and support to promote women agenda.
At the same time, she encouraged LWDR to create programs that would allow women to interrogate and interact with politicians seeking elected positions. Mlambo-Ngucka also called on the station to prioritize female candidates vying for political positions to explain their platforms.
She stressed that radio remains a key medium and is among the most accessible and cheapest form of communication. With the radio platform, she said increased participation of women in the democratic processes can be enhanced.
Mlambo-Ngucka further encouraged Liberian women to participate in national politics including the 2017 elections.
She said the purpose of her visit to the country was to, among other things, foster strong collaborations with stakeholders and women leaders and the UN Women office in Liberia.
LIWOMAC Founder and Executive Director Estella Nelson said promoting the stories of women motivates other women to take up challenges for opportunities available to them.
At the same time, a LIWOMAC Board Co-Chairperson, Ruth Mondae, has identified male ownership and control of the media, increasing reports of rape, teenage pregnancy and prostitution as some of the major challenges to the promotion of women’s issues.
Ruth Mondae said the need for support to LIWOMAC was important especially during a time that the country is at a crossroads for political and security transition.
Featured photo by Gbatemah Senah