Liberia: ‘Women Become Stagnated without Access to Information’ -Former First Lady Comfort Sawyer
Monrovia – Former First Lady Comfort Sawyer has said that the lack of access to information is preventing the socioeconomic and political empowerment of women in Liberia.
Report by Jaheim T Tumu- [email protected]
Madam Sawyer said though the right of access to information is fundamental, women are not able to access information with the same frequency and rate as their male counterparts.
Addressing the one-day annual conference organized by Carter Center, under the theme, ‘Inform Women, Transform Lives,’ Madam Sawyer, said access to basic information enables women to obtain the necessary skills needed to improve their lives.
The conference, which was aimed at improving how women can obtain public information in Liberia without difficulty, brought together representatives of several women organizations.
Madam Sawyer, whose husband Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer served as the President of the Interim Government of National Unity in Liberia from November 22, 1990 to March 7, 1994, urged the participants to continue to strive to be educated in order to be heard and contribute for the advancement of society.
“Without access to information, we become stagnated,” Madam Sawyer said.
“It also a known fact that in society where women are not able to access information on the participation of their rights, that society is hampered and that society finds itself backward with increased hopelessness and dependency on men.”
She, however, stated that once a women becomes educated and have access to information, that woman can move forward progressively to make changes in her community, liives and country.
Also speaking, the Chargé d’Affairs of the Embassy of Ireland, Kate Brandy appreciated Carter Center for the progress of ensuring women have access to information.
Ms. Brandy said despite Liberia being the first country in West Africa to pass the comprehensive Freedom of Information Law, implementing it remains a challenge.
Meanwhile, women groups attending the conference from four counties — Grand Gedeh, Nimba, Lofa and Montserrado counties — are calling on President George Weah to ensure that Liberian women have access to information.
Addressing a press conference, the head of the group, Marina T. Dolokelen wants government ministries and agencies to implement the FOI law and appoint more females as public relation officers.
Madam Dolokeleh further said these government entities should put in measure to disclose public information to citizen especially women.
“The CSO uses the FOI law as a tool to hold government accountable in order to promote transparency in government,” she said.