Liberia: Pres. Weah Pays Homage to Ex-president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on International Women’s Day

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MONROVIA – On International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on 8 March every year, Liberian President George Weah, said he would put in stringent measures to help tackle the surge in Sexual and Gender-based Violence against women in the country.

“I will be reviewing the progress made by the Sexual and Gender-based Violence taskforce and will take stronger measures to bring this national strategy under control, President Weah said.

In describing this year’s event as “sad” and “emotional” moment period, President Weah said the commemoration of the day came at the time Liberia was experiencing an increase in Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the country, with some of the victims being at a young age.

The Liberian leader also committed himself to ensuring women and girls are empowered so they can follow in the footsteps of other great Liberian women. “I encouraged Liberian women to have  positive thoughts about themselves and don’t give up because if giving up were an option he would not be president of Liberia.

“I want to express how proud I am for the strength and resilience of Liberian women. You are still strong despite the challenges that you face. You are collectively shattering the glass ceiling. We will continue to work hard to ensure that women are empowered,” President Weah said.

At Tuesday’s celebrations, President Weah also paid tribute to his Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, all female government ministers, women achievers in the country and former president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in whose honor he named the Ministerial Complex.

The Liberian  Weah then endorsed recommendations by speakers at Tuesday’s event who highlighted the need to increase the number of women participation in politics, saying that women’s political participation is the key to breaking barriers and promoting gender equality and a sustainable tomorrow.

“We will continue to do our part in ensuring a free and just society for all regardless of your gender,” he said.

He added that Liberia can only achieve maximum developments if women have equal rights, adding: “As president, you can be assured that your voice will continue to be heard and rights respected.”

Also making remarks, UN Liberia Resident Coordinator, Mr. Niels Scott, commended Liberian women and girls for being strong change makers, and  recognized the potential of women and girls as well as their resilience and leadership. 

Mr. Scott, however, noted that while progress is being made, it is being challenged by multiple generational issues which have led to public health crisis and an increase in violence against women.  

Mr. Scott also emphasized the importance of full representation of women in the Legislature and the need to ensure women have access to quality jobs and financial resources.

Meanwhile, Ms. Ghoma Karloweah, Acting Head of Programs for UN Women Liberia, presented the International Women’s Day message from the UN Secretary, Antonio Guterres, saying: “We celebrate women and girls everywhere. We celebrate their contributions to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Their ideas, innovations and activism that are changing our world for the better. And their leadership across all walks of life,” read part of the speech. 

In remarks, Liberia’s Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection,  Williametta Saydee-Tarr, who welcomed a cross-section of gender equality champions to the event, said this year’s celebrations are being held under historic circumstances because of the Bicentennial celebrations. 

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