The First Lady of Liberia, Madam Clar Marie Weah says it is time to progress from advocacy for gender equality in Africa to participation and concrete actions.
Delivering special remarks at a Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) side event organized by Liberia in New York, Madam Weah urged women to build a culture of competitiveness and take advantage of gender equality laws crafted specifically to increase women's participation in politics, society and the economy.
Reflecting on the event's theme: Rural Women and Girls Economic Empowerment, Madam Weah said it was time to empower rural women by giving them land ownership and access to credit to increase their agriculture output and provide much-needed income. She believes such action would reverse some cultural practices that intentionally create gender inequality. “It would be a major achievement if one of the key outcomes of this gathering would be to find ways to equip our mothers, sister and children living in rural Liberia with the skills and competencies so that they become a driving force for a sustainable economic growth and social welfare in Liberia” she stressed.
According to dispatch from Liberia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, the First Lady pledged to dedicate her service and mobilize the support of His Excellency President George Manneh Weah to ensure that actions are taken to address the plight of rural women and girls.
The First Lady used the occasion to announce the formation of the 'Clar Hope Foundation' to restore the hope of disadvantaged children, youth and women through education, health and other opportunities to better their lives.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Williametta Saydee Tarr described the event as an opportunity to tell the Liberian story. She noted that rural women have been the backbone of women’s economic empowerment in Liberia and it is critical to highlight their best practices and the key lessons in achieving the results and change they desired.
Thanking UN Women, Sweden and Canada for their support in empowering Liberian women and girls; Minister Tarr expressed the hope that Liberia will draw the attention of donor countries to consider support for sustaining the gains already made on the social and economic empowerment of women and girls in rural areas.
Sharing her story as a beneficiary, Ma Kebbeh Mongar, National President of the Rural Women Structure explained that she and other rural women benefitted from adult literacy programs, leadership trainings, business management, and mobile banking services.
Madam Mongar who displayed packaged products created by rural women at the event, said the interventions from the Government and UN Women have made a huge difference in their lives. She called for more support to empower more women and girls in rural Liberia.
Meanwhile, partners including UN Women and Canada have assured that they will continue to work with Liberia to ensure the full accomplishment of gender equality and economic empowerment of women and girls.