Liberia: 63rd Armed Forces Day Speaker Wants Army Women in Top Positions

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Mary T. Broh, 63rd Orator, Armed Forces of Liberia Day

Monrovia – The 63rd Armed Forces Day orator, General Services Agency (GSA) Director General Mary T. Broh was blunt in calling on the leadership of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) to also include women serving the forces in high ranking positions.

Madam Broh, with nickname ‘General’ Broh, who began the day’s oration by reciting the AFL’s oath, stated that women in the army continue to uphold the spirit of love and passion for the force, like their male counterparts and the need to improve their capacities for top leadership role couldn’t be overemphasized.

“When we look at the role of women in Liberia and look at the statistic, we need to step up the representation of women in the AFL. When we think of what women endured from childbirth to motherhood, we see that women are just as strong in spirit, just as men,” Madam Broh asserted.

She told the gathering at the Barclay Training Center Military Barrack in Monrovia, that these women who continue to offer sacrifices in different sectors, remained subject to discrimination and other vices.

“They have sacrificed in liberation struggles and are now offering unique skills in peacekeeping operations and their contributions have come at a cost. Despite making representation across the continent, females continue to fight discrimination at all levels of service,” Broh averred.

“When conflict subsides, military women often receive less award and other recognitions by their male counterparts.”

“When we look at the role of women in Liberia and look at the statistic, we need to step up the representation of women in the AFL. When we think of what women endured from childbirth to motherhood, we see that women are just as strong in spirit, just as men.”

– Mary T. Broh, 63rd Orator, Armed Forces of Liberia Day

Speaking on the theme, “Strategies to Incorporate More Females in the Security Sector, AFL in Perspective,” the Armed Force Day Orator furthered that these preconceptions about women’s role and ability in leadership has not prevented them from taking the challenge to serve high ranks of their country’s military.

Therefore, ‘Gen’ Broh wants government to create an environment that will retain women and improve their opportunities for leadership in the military and beyond.

She believes, one way to improve the opportunities of women in the army is by incorporating them into peacekeeping missions.

Madam Broh called on AFL Chief of Staff, Major General Prince C. Johnson to ensure that women are not subject to harassment in the army, but improve their numbers in leadership roles.

She wants the Reserved Officer Training Corps (ROTC) to be reactivated and use by the AFL to recruit more women for the military.

“President George Mannah Weah, today, I ask you to join your voice to mine, to call on all women of Liberia to volunteer their services to help every sector of our nation,” she pleaded.   

She admonished Liberians to remain supportive of the sacrifices the army continues to make in protecting Liberia.

“Today, we have gathered to celebrate the 63rd edition of the Armed Forces Day of Liberia; some people out there will be wondering why we should celebrate, when the country is faced with serious economic challenges. Despite the challenges, we must always remember and honor the gallant men and women of the AFL, who have made and continue to make enormous sacrifices to ensure the protection of our territorial integrity and sovereignty of Liberia,” Madam Broh said.  

The GSA Director-General expressed delight over what she called, “The level of intelligence and discipline being demonstrated by the Armed Forces of Liberia over the years.”

History of AFL

The AFL began as the Liberia Frontier Force (LFF) in 1908 with only men being recruited. This continued until the force was renamed, the Liberia National Guard. Up to 1956, when the Armed Forces of Liberia was founded, women were still barred from joining the force, until the early 1960 when Mrs. Etta Wright was appointed Assistant Secretary of War for Malicious Affairs at the Department of War, now known as the Ministry of National Defense. Her appointment gave rise to the formation of the Women Auxiliary Corps in 1977 with 46 women, almost a platoon size, being recruited.

Today, the new AFF has 82 females, seven of which are enlisted as commissioned officers.   Additionally, 19 women of the AFL are currently serving peacekeeping mission in Mali.

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