By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy
The Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC) for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership, Development, International Peace and Security has begun celebrating achievements in women leadership in the country by opening activities befitting its 5th anniversary celebrations today.
Addressing a press conference ahead of the two months of celebrations yesterday, the Establishment Coordinator, Yvette Chesson-Wureh said ABIC is using the celebration to renew the dynamism that will promote greater gender equality and women’s involvement in peace and security.
Cllr. Wureh said since the climax of the civil war in the country, issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment have been keen and acknowledged one of the major gains as the election of the only and first female President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
She read a Ministry of Gender and Development statistics which explained how women’s positions in leadership have increased rapidly with them occupying nearly 25 percent of top ministerial positions, 29 percent of the deputy minister posts and 25 assistant minister positions while they also head 28 percent of the 25 key government agencies in the country.
Cllr. Wureh noted that women’s representation in key leadership positions over the past decades have proven significant progress made in the country’s stride towards ensuring gender equality and emphasized how the Centre is using the anniversary to evaluate and assess gains made in improving peace and security in the region with a call for renewed energy to tackling the challenges that are ahead.
She admitted that in the midst of the gains, the extent of gender inequalities in Liberia as it relates to status, religion, rural and urban areas as well as traditional cultures remain a serious concern and affirmed that the hard truth and reality must be faced which shows the overall position of women in various sectors in the country as still being appalling and disheartening.
As part of its anniversary activities, ABIC will also hold an all day youth program and dedicate the Chief Suah Koko Centre nearly completing construction at the Cuttington University Campus in Bong County as well as the third annual lecture series.
ABIC Establishment Coordinator called on the government especially those perusing the Equity Bill to allow women have reflection compared to the country’s population which states that women make up 51 percent of the country’s population.
She challenged the National Legislature to notice that the Bill is not presently in its original draft and urged legislators to see the need to pass it into law instead of watering it down adding that there are challenges but are measured by the numerous opportunities and that nothing can be achieved in the country without collaboration.