As Liberia joined the World to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, former Montserrado superintendent Rev. Grace Kpan has called on the government of Liberia to effectively implement those international instruments that protect the rights of women and girls.
Serving as guest preacher at the ceremony commemorating the International Day, Madam Kpan stressed that there are several laws that protect the rights of women and girls in the country but implementation remains a major challenge in ensuring that women and girls are protected from all forms of violence.
“Liberia is signatory to several International instruments that speak against violence against women and girls but Liberia’s problem is implementation,” she stated.
She added that women of Liberia need to rise up and make things happen noting that if the country must rise up from its current state, both urban and rural women have a very significant role to play. She encouraged them to be innovative instead of depending on government to do everything.
The former Montserrado Superintendent attributed the high rate of rape to the act of most parents allowing their children to sell in the streets especially females something she said exposes young women to sexual violence and other abuses.
Madam Kpan said the key to good governance is having good people in the society stressing that Liberia does not need a powerful leader but rather a principle-minded leader in order to deal with the issue of violence against women and girls.
“We do not need thirty percent of women in parliament before our voices can be heard; what we need in Liberia is good and strong women who can be compared to Deborah in the bible,” she intimated.
She further noted that there is a need for more Presidential Proclamations to ban the operations of entertainment centers during school hours in order to ensure that children go to school on time stressing that most of the movies and music entering the country are not healthy for the younger generation something she said needs to be addressed with urgency.
For his part, UNMIL representative said though Liberia has made some efforts in eliminating sexual and domestic violence against women and girls, more needs to be done to ensure that the women and girls have a safe space as well as an environment free of violence. He disclosed that according to reports, most girls now have access to education as compared to the past something he said is welcoming but still needs to improve highlighting violence against women and girls as a major factor that hinders girls’ empowerment.
“If we must have a country free of violence against women and girls, everybody needs to get involved with the struggle to end violence against women,” he added.
The UNMIL representative also encouraged the government to provide basic health services for women and girls now that the Ebola virus is gradually leaving the country noting the rights of women and girls were still being violated during the fight against the virus.
At the same time, Minister Augustine Ngafuan’s message which was read by his representative stated that women and girls have been affected by all forms of violence ranging from sexual and domestic violence and as such they need to be protected and recognized as potential partners.
Minister Ngafuan in his message said there is a need to make equal the gender disparities between men and women in the country noting that sexual violence is everybody’s business and not just women issue.
All around the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 each year, and it represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater gender equality.
The global theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Make It Happen” encouraging effective action for advancing and recognizing women while the national theme is “Women Rising Beyond Ebola”.