Women Rally to Support Constitutional Proposals

MONROVIA, Montserrado – A cross section of women in Liberia have ended a one-day deliberation on the four propositions agreed on at the National Constitution Review Conference in Gbarnga, Bong County.

The four propositions include protecting the right for parents to discipline their children, guaranteeing inheritance rights for women in traditional societies, supporting women’s access to economic and social opportunities, and ensuring a gender-neutral language in all legal documents.

The debriefing was held under the theme, “The time is now, make it happen.” It was intended to seek opinions from the women on ways to continue efforts in getting the four propositions enacted into law.

According to the organizers, the four propositions are important for Liberia’s democracy. They noted that the country is a signatory to treaties that relate to the four propositions.

The Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, Julia Duncan Cassel said that there is a need for sustained advocacy to ensure that the propositions form part of the recommendations of the National Legislature.

Cassel said it is incumbent on women to ensure more awareness is made while stressing that women’s rights are human rights. She applauded men who are championing the causes for women and encouraged them to continue advocacy.

The women in attendance also mentioned the defeated proposition to give marital rights to couples who have been cohabitating for years.

The women said cohabitation has ruined Liberian society, and there is a need for the Constitutional Review Commission to reconsider it in the recommendation to the President and Legislature.

According to them, most men live together with women for years without a legal marriage status.

Irine Ako, UN women’s representative at the meeting, pledged support to the women of Liberia in ensuring that their issues are highlighted in the Liberian constitution.

Also speaking, UNMIL Gender Advisor James Muriithi said Liberian women should consider unity as the bedrock for achieving their goals. He advised that they must have short strategies to tackle all gender issues.

The women recommended that their leaders should follow up with the Constitutional Review Committee to educate the population on the propositions. They also called for continuous advocacy with the Legislature and increased community engagements on the women’s issues.

The Women of Liberia Constitution Taskforce, which supports women’s rights issues, assured the women that it will continuously seek efforts to ensure that their issues are prioritized.

Featured image courtesy of UN WOMEN/ Winston Daryoue

Lisa Diasay

A student at the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU), Lisa majors in Mass Communications and minors in Public Administration. She previously worked as a reporter for UNMIL Radio and is a member of the Female Journalists Association of Liberia.

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