Liberia: Armed Forces of Liberia’s Deputy Chief of Staff Wants More Women Join the Army
Monrovia – Brigadier General Geraldine George has stressed the need for more women to cease the opportunity and join the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) to serve the country through the army.
Report by Lisa T. Diasay, Contributor
Brigadier General George spoke in an interview with journalists at her office in Monrovia recently as part of the 62ndcelebration of Armed Forces Day. February 11, considered as Armed Forces Day, is celebrated yearly to renew the spirit within the force and foster stronger collaboration with other security apparatus on the advancement of the Force. This year’s event is held under the theme “Sustaining Peace and Security through Capacity Building”.
Women constitute less than 5% of the 1,962 soldiers in the force.
Gen. George indicated that the participation of women in the force is very essential.
Gen. George recognized that the standard of training instituted in the Force has constrained potential women to drop, pointing out that the process must be done to ensure quality services are provided and equality is achieved. “In the military, everyone does everything equally and no pity is given to certain group of people so we don’t want women entering the Force based on pity because the standard of training of for all”.
As part of efforts to encourage more women in the Force, Gen George disclosed the establishment of a special training session currently in place to aid women and men who are limited with some of the trainings before the recruitment process. “We have started to visit universities and colleges to raise awareness on the need for more young women to join the Force and also explain to them the benefits it has.”
She consented to challenges of accommodation and the provision of basic social services for soldiers at all of the various barracks around the country, but stressed that low budget allocation has been one of the major challenges confronting the Force. “We are currently rehabilitating units at the barracks and plans are underway to upgrade the salaries of soldiers but budget constraint so there’s no recruitment ongoing now until we can fix these things,” she said.
Gen. George also named the lack of logistics to effectively carry out operations in the army which she stressed is essential carrying out the activities of the army.
“We need trucks, manpower and good road network to respond to emergencies that may arise in other parts of the country and this should be a collective efforts of all in the security sector to ensure peace is sustain through our work,” she said.
She added, “In times of peace prepare for war that’s a common saying even though we are not praying for it, but we ought to be equipped and improve the safety of the country to attract investors and boost the economy,” Brigadier General George said.
She boasted of a cordial working relationship with the Liberia National Police and other security apparatus in maintaining peace and stability through the Country. “We have had a good standing relationship with the police such that arrest can be done by any of the security groups. We always said that no AFL personnel is above the law; if he or she misbehaves LNP officers can arrest them and turn them over to us for investigation and we have over the period encouraged good citizens-Armed relationship”.
Brigadier General George is the second in command in which she supervises several soldiers including men and women for proper execution of the duties. “My challenge has been getting men to take orders because they (men) have had the mindset that women should not lead them and over time most men underestimated me in my previous role which is wrong but day-by-day things are getting better”.
Gen. George, prior to her ascendency as Deputy Chief of Staff of the AFL, served as a Commanding General for an Infantry Brigade which was responsible for prompt response to chaos in the country to ensure peace and stability is maintained.
Her ascendency came as a result of a nomination by President Weah to serve as the second highest person in the Armed Forces of Liberia, a position no woman has held in the last 60years. With the less percentage of women in the AFL, most of them are occupying high ranking positions including master sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain including section heads, security and driver, among others.