The Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, Hon. Williametta E. Saydee Tarr says the Government of Liberia is using technology to address economic and social inequalities affecting women and girls.
Presenting Liberia’s National Statement to the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on Wednesday, Minister Tarr said the Government uses digital financial platforms,
such as mobile money and 24-hour call centers to ensure that women and girls have access to finance and help against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.
This year’s session of the Commission on the Status of Women is on the theme: “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”.
Minister Tarr informed the conference that mobile money platform is used to pay salaries and other financial benefits to public sector workers and transfer cash to beneficiaries of the Liberia Social Safety Nets Program, which supports vulnerable households, particularly female-headed households.
She also spoke of efforts to use digital platforms and technology to improve agricultural development and women’s access to markets and credit facilities, as well as access to energy, learning opportunities and disaster risk management. “We want to continue to improve women’s access to disaster risk reduction, risk transfer, and finance by enhancing scope to include mobile-enabled disaster, health and life insurance, weather forecast and alerts, and climate-smart agricultural advisory on digital platforms. We want to also improve women’s access to energy for their household and productive purposes. Our investment plan targets solar asset financing and strengthening women’s skills in the energy sector.” Minister Tarr expanded.
Amongst others, the Government supports these efforts through the ongoing implementation of the ‘Liberia Women Empowerment Project’, a 44.6-million-dollar project approved by the World Bank in 2022 to comprehensively support women’s economic and social empowerment in Liberia.
Reflecting on the upcoming Presidential and Legislative Elections in October, Minister Tarr asserted that the Government of Liberia is working with relevant partners to ensure that women fully participate in Liberia’s transition from manual registration to a digital registration system and not just as voters but also as candidates.
Minister Tarr: “ Currently, there is a transitioning of the voter registration processes from manual registration to a digital registration system using biometrics during this electoral year – as part of this process, we are ensuring that women and girls above 18 years of age are registered and within time to enable their full participation. We are also working with relevant stakeholders, including political parties, women groups, civil society organizations, and community-based organizations to see more women on the ballot paper.”
Minister Tarr then emphasized the need for increased support to address violence against women, particularly online violence against women candidates by building the capacity of grassroots leaders and organizations to change attitudes and behavior towards women, their values, roles, and responsibilities.