Organization For Women and Children Prepare Women For 2023 Elections
Monrovia – As part of efforts to ensure increased female participation in politics, a local nongovernmental organization (NGO) Organization for Women and Children (ORWOCH) yesterday held a round table discussion with women groups and representative candidates who did not win the October 10 Presidential and Legislative polls.
The roundtable discussion held at the organization’s headquarters in Fiamah, Sinkor, was meant to engage female candidates that contested from various districts across the country to share their experiences and challenges which would be used to position them in the 2023 elections.
Making remarks Executive Director Mmonbeydo N. J Harrell said even though majority of women did not win representative seats, they have realized and gained more knowledge which they were lacking, and the organization is seeking to implement recommendations that will see women more determined ahead of the next elections.
“This round table discussion will enable us to go back to the drawing board and see what were the constraints and problems that still continue to deter women from participating into politics and other strategic positions.
ORWOCH is willing and ready to place women at the center stage so that women will be able to mobilize resources and capacity training that will give more preparedness ahead of the next elections.
Women should be ready to vote for women representatives. We have many women that registered, but that did not reflect on the vote casted for women”, she said.
Speaking on behalf of the UN Women, Madam Nyasha Chidau says the recent elections has served as an eye opener for women and has since increased their interest in Politics.
She encouraged the few women that made it to pursue the cause of women in the House of Representatives and cautioned them that the struggle is however far from over until women are positioned in an environment that will enable fair chances with men.
For her part, the program Director of Internews Madam Patmilia Doe said that the outcome of the elections could not be seen as a loss to women, but has served as a stepping stone for first time aspirants especially the young ones.
“For the first time in our history, one hundred and sixty two women took part in our electoral process and aspire to be elected to representative seats.
Our aim is to ensure more participation in 2023. The program organized by ORWOCH is timely and this will empower women to be ready for the task ahead”, she said.
Explaining their ordeal, most participants said they experienced difficulties including finance, transportation, logistics and stereotype, and had to pay the sum of five hundred United State dollars for primary elections in their various political parties, and also pay the same amount to the National Elections Commission for registration.
The participants voiced their disappointment on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for not coming out to support women candidates, and at one time she condemned women for being too much in the race.
Mrs Pauline Weah Nyuntosh was a representative candidate for Dst# 14 in Montserrado County who says that most of the women encountered financial difficulties as incumbents were busy dolling out money to electorates and transferring voters from one districts to another for voting.
Felicia Kogoe of Dst 8 in Nimba County says they did not gain family support due to the rumor that UN Women gave money to every female candidates which was never true.
Dilating on the way forward, it was agreed that officials from NEC should be invited to clarify certain issues that they considered inappropriate and to see if NEC would amend certain portion of registration laws to enable women to participate.
It was also suggested that ORWOCH should extend its network to rural areas in order to create awareness among other women’s in rural areas.