Why Young Women in Rural Parts of Liberia Are Not Involved in Decision Making
Adolescent Girls in the rural areas are being exposed to abuses mostly in our post war country Liberia.
However, in many years, women in our African society specifically Liberian women had been overlooked in decision making.
They were not seen as individuals who could properly head ministries and agencies in the homeland until the advent of Pres. Sirleaf. But, today women are not often abuse due to the mushrooming of advocacy group that are in the vanguard championing their causes.
Even though, the abuse of women is no longer rife as compared to the period of the civil war, some are still being abused, even during the regime of a female president in Liberia. In fact the civil war made adolescent girls orphans, and to make conditions, worst the deadly virus called Ebola made lots of adolescent girls’ orphans as well.
According to survey being done in the rural areas of Liberia, maternity rate death is on the increase especially in the case of Bong County. This is so because school going adolescents in the rural areas are victims of such nightmare.
For instance, Bong County where I study, most school going girls are not involved in positive extra Curriculum activities. Many of those adolescent girls that are between the ages of 12-16 are actively involved in sex which leads to adolescent pregnancy.
Within the educational system of Liberia, the enrollment of girls is low and boy’s attendance is high. Data show that adolescent girls living in the rural areas who are not in school and who are often married as children are vulnerable to maternal mortality and morbidity, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortion, HIV infection, sexual violence and abuse.
This survey concentrates on adolescent girls in the rural parts of Liberia. So, if adolescent programs are more effective in the rural parts of Liberia despite of their diversity, they will not be vulnerable to abuses. One factor that leads to adolescent girls being on the street with unwanted pregnancy is due to lack of parenting.
None- parental supervision over adolescent makes the girls vulnerable to transactional sex as it relates to prostitution and is even terrible for those adolescent girls themselves who are mothers. It is extremely dangerous to the society for babies and adolescent girls that are exposed to danger.
Thorough research done among Adolescent girls indicates that they are vulnerable to the following:
- Adolescent Pregnancy
- Early sexual behavior and transactional sex
- Alcohol and Substance abuse
- Physical Violence
- Sexual violence
- Isolation due to family breakdown and weak social capital
- Emotional distress and poor psychological wellbeing
Analytically, those factors have been the reasons why women’s participation in leadership is less or appalling. Some cases have been revealed that parents are the primary reason why adolescent girls are not in school because their parents have those girls as breadwinners for the families instead of protecting the rights of those kids.
Also, In Liberia, the absence of one or two biological parents push girls or young potential women to work as such work as transactional sex workers (prostitution).
Pregnancy is one of the key factors that is stopping adolescent girls and potential young women from participating in higher decision making.
Therefore, some of the main findings why women are purposely not involved in decision making especially in the rural areas are lack of productive skills, lack of business skills, and lack of education.
In other for young women who were once adolescent voices to be heard, there should be vocational school for young women to be able to empower themselves with whatever skills they will acquire during the training. Such undertaking of vocational schools will make the society we lived in a place for the betterment of the girl child.
Kumba G. Zotaa, Contributing Writer