Setback For Women Political Representation

As Two Males Lead Montserrado County By- Elections

(Monrovia, Liberia August 1, 2019) A Youth Organization with the objective of supporting women in political activities especially for their voices to be heard at the National legislature and other top national decision marking areas, has expressed dismay over results coming from the just ended Montserrado County senatorial and District # 15 Representative by-elections .
The provisional results released by the National Elections Commission NEC) put two male candidates in the driving seat for both the senatorial and representative seats in both houses, thus demolishing the quest of women voices at the national legislature, most especially at the Liberian Senate where only one female senator and soon be 29 males senators.
Speaking to our Reporter in relation to the deterioration of women representations at the national legislature, a youth advocate Jackson Wolubah, who is the Chairman of the Paynesville Young Professionals, said it is a serious setback in the fight for gender equality and women political participation.
According to him women representation at the Liberian senate has lost a force in debating issues that are critical to the growth and development of women and girls. He said when any bills for women empowerment are presented to the lawmakers at the sensate for deliberation, he said, chances for fair deliberations are slim.
“As we speak you only have one female senator with 29 male senators, making the total of 30 senators. What that one woman can do in plenary, we need to rethink about the political process of our country; especially at the highest decision making levels. I am disappointed that one woman did not win any of the two seats in the by-elections, “he indicated.
Wolubah further said that women have critical roles to play in the political process of the country but are challenged with marginalization in the electoral process, noting that their male adversaries always give them names that are immoral, thus causing the voters to less value them.
He also used the interview and called on women movement of Liberia to get engaged in a robust campaign of creating awareness that women can better make prudent decisions at the national legislature irrespective of their sex.
The youth advocate further narrated that during the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf women were in the vanguard of battling their male counterparts at the national legislature and other sectors of government including organizations with the objective of building women capacity in leadership.
It can be recalled that since the 2005 legislative and presidential elections that brought to power the first female President of Liberia Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf also saw the number of female senators increased. Those female senators who were elected included the late Hannah Brant and Joyce Musu Sumo of the Congress for Democratic Change, from Montserrado County, Claria Jah of Liberty Party, Margibi county, Glora Musu Scott of Unity Party of Maryland County and Jewel Howard –Taylor of the National Patriotic Party of Bong County respectively.
Besides, in an effort to increase women political representation at the National Legislature, UN women, the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection including Women in politics and women organizations, worked collectively to ensure that more women are elected in the national legislature. This effort prompted the women of Liberia through the Gender Ministry with support from their developmental partners along with female legislators to formulate the Affirmative Action Bill with the objective of giving women fair chances of being elected to the National Legislature. The Bill has undergone several changes under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Even the 2011 and 2014 senatorial elections saw women at the Liberian Senate suffered serious setback by losing massively with only three females returning to the senate to compete with 27 male senators. The female senators at the time included Jewel Howard-Taylor of Bong County of the National Patriotic Party , Geraldine Doe-Sheriff of Montserrado County of the Congress for Democratic Change and Nyonblee Lawrence of Grand Bassa County of the Liberty Party .
The 2017 presidential and representative elections were further challenging for women thus making them to lose additional seat from Bong County when Senator Jewel Howard Taylor was elected as Vice President of Liberia and president of the Liberian Senate leaving only two females Senators Geraldine Doe-Sheriff and Nyonblee Lawrence with 28 male senators.
With the passing of Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff created additional vacuum for the women at the Liberian senate thus leaving only one female senator, Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence to compete with 28 male senators.
With the elections of Abraham Darius Dillon has now increased the male senators to 29 and only a female senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence.