Gender Minister Advises Female Zoes on Early Marriage Dangers


Brewerville – As part of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Julia Duncan-Cassell, has urged traditional female zoes not to encourage early child marriage.

Report by J.H. Webster Clayeh – [email protected]

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence is a global campaign from the first women’s global leadership institute dedicated to call for action in ending gender-based violence.

As this year marks the 26th years of the 16 Days of Activism around the World, it is the 16th commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign in Liberia. 

Addressing female zoes at the Traditional Village for Peace in Brewerville City over the weekend, the Gender Minister explained that they could not end the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence without meeting the Traditional Female Zoes, whom she praised for upholding the nation’s culture and tradition.

Minister Duncan-Cassell urged these traditional mothers to avoid the practice of early childhood marriage.

“The tradition is good; we should allow our girls to go to school. You can still keep your culture,” she told the older women.

“Don’t give your girl child to man. Give her chance, talk to her, let her go to school; the same way you can let your boy child go to school,” Minister Cassell appealed.

According to the Gender Minister, her mother did not get a formal education. She added, however, that her mother provided her (Julia) that education, which has made her the person she is today.

Madam Duncan also explained about the many obstacles a girl child encounters when she gets into early marriage.

“Your girl child will encounter fistula because her body is not strong,” Madam explained.

Madam Duncan-Cassell further praised Mama Tomah, the head of the Traditional Female Zoes for her leadership in transforming the peace village.

Also, the Director for the Gender Based Violence Division at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Deddeh Kwekwe, thanked on the traditional female zoes for their full commitment in transforming their village.

Although Madam Kwekwe urged the traditional mothers to maintain their practices, she, however, told them that some of practices are harmful and they needed to stop them.

“We need the good practices that will make us all happy,” she told them.

She assured them of the ministry’s commitment in carrying on series of project to help empower them at the beginning of 2018.

Earlier, Mama Tomah welcomed the Minister and officials of the Gender Ministry for reaching out to them especially during the period of the 16 Days of Activism.

Also speaking, the president of the National Governor’s Council of Liberia, Musu K. Thompson, said that as they get older, it is their desire to pass on the tradition and culture to the next generation.

According to the president, today’s generation of young people is lost when it comes to knowing about their tradition and culture.

“The Sande bush will teach the children how to be good women. We should not forget about the background of our culture,” she told the Gender Minister and party.

She pledged to work with other traditional women to get rid of early marriage and reaffirmed not to compromise rape cases.