Liberia: Liberian Women Urged to Build Bridges

Clockwise: Madams Julia Duncan Cassell, Laurentine H. Bowman-Bass, Mayor Pam Belcher-Taylor, Madams Ophelia Hoff-Saytumah and Moriah Grace Wisseh

MONROVIA – Former Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, Madam Julia Duncan Cassell has urged her fellow Liberian women to build bridges as they move about daily in their communities, at their places of work and meetings. 

“How do we intend as Liberian women to build bridges?” Madam Cassell asked her audience, who had gathered at the Paynesville City Hall.

In response to the question that she had posted to her audience, who are mainly women, she said, “That should an easy thing for us to do. We build bridges all day: we solve problems all day as women of Liberia.”

The hall was jammed pack with women who had come from different women’s organizations within communities in Montserrado County and outside Monrovia, including all 15 political subdivisions of Liberia. Some had even come from the women’s auxiliaries of different churches. 

Speaking further Madam Cassell, who is the Chairperson of the Board of Women’s NGOs Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL) said, “The women of Liberia have decided to prove themselves that they, too, can build bridges. They can fly planes, drive cars, they can move mountains.”

She reminded the women that as they meet on the next four days, they should remember that they were also part of the celebrations of the nation’s bi-centennial events.

Madam Duncan Cassell served as the Keynote Speaker and Chief Launcher of the four-day International Women’s Conference 2022, which is being held on the theme: “Building Bridges to Enhance Our Lives.” The conference began on the 20th and is expected to climax on the 24th of September 2022. The conference is also being held under the auspice of Liberia Bi-Centennial Committee.

Speaking earlier, the Mayor of Paynesville City, Madam Pam Belcher-Taylor, said she was happy that the gathering was intended, among other things, to economically empower young Liberian women, who are ready for development.

“The society we live in today has a lot of ills in it. I want to thank the organizers who have decided to put their hands around our younger women because when you developed, you can excel economically,” Mayor Belcher-Taylor added.

Also speaking earlier, the National Director of the Liberia Baptist Women’s Missionary Union, Moriah Grace Wisseh, told her colleagues that most of their male counterparts feel that they (women) should be in the back but that it was time for them to step to the place where it will be “side by side.”

“Normally, our male counterparts feel that we women belong to the back, belong in the kitchen. Have you ever stopped for a minute to think when a house is built, the kitchen is always placed at the back. It is because our male counterparts feel that women belong to the back.”

Madam Wisseh encouraged her colleagues, especially, those of them who are found of always asking for alms from men, to begin standing up for themselves by putting their hands to work so that they can be equally self-sufficient.

Also, former Monrovia City Mayor Ophelia Hoff-Saytumah, Focus Person of the Mano River Women’s Peace Network (MARWOPNET)-Liberia, spoke of how important the women of Liberia are. She narrated the invaluable role she and other Liberian women, including the late Mother Mary Brownell, played in bringing former President Charles Taylor and former Guinean President Lansana Conté together, which eventually led to peace coming to the Mano River Union Sub-region, including Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and La Coté d’Ivoire.

The four-day conference also has other speakers, including Mrs. Debbie Thomas Scott-Caranda, a 47-year veteran educator, Madam Gloria Maya Musu Scott, former Chief Justice, Republic of Liberia, Ms. Jacqueline “Jackie” C. Kiadii, a business owner and technology educator, Pastor Jackquelyn Sangae Moore Russell, who is pursuing her PhD in Organization Leadership, Dr. Jewel B. Tarpeh-Kollie of Redemption Hospital, and Madam Elizabeth Geneva Meatta Armstrong, who has 30 plus years as an author, a professional accountant and a business development consultant.

The four-day conference is being moderated by Madam Laurentine H. Bowman-Bass, Chair, Planning Committee, Liberia Bi-Centennial International Women’s Conference.