Calling Telia Urey a ‘Little Girl’ is Not OK, Mr. President – An Open Letter to President Weah
Dear President Weah:
Thank you for listening to us and supporting a woman, Paulitta C.C. Wie to clinch the candidacy of the CDC to contest for the Montserrado vacancy in the Senate. We wish her and all female candidates, Mcdella Cooper, Telia Urey and Massa Massaquoi Kanyon well.
Mr. President, while I struggled to navigate the traffic yesterday, I watched the program on Facebook live. It was a beautiful event. I saw the show put on by the artists and it was really good. Liberian Artists are talented indeed.
Mr. President one thing caught my attention anyway, I may have misunderstood you yesterday at the presentation ceremony, but I am happy to be corrected or proven wrong.
Did you, President Weah, called Telia Urey a “Little girl”? Really? I hope Not. Because truly if you did it will be unfortunate. How old is she? Don’t tell me your utterance is with reference to your age. It is not an excuse. Violence Against Women in Politics an Elections takes on many forms and this, Mr. President, is one. It is the reference to female political actors in demeaning ways.
It IS NOT OKAY!
Mr. President, we can’t ask you to retract, we know you won’t, but we can point it out that this characterization and attack on women in general and women in politics, in particular, is the reason why gender issues remain at the back burner and many women shy away from politics.
Here is what I think based on your utterance:
• Because most of us are “Little Girls”, even though we are plenty and qualified and have voted for and danced for you, that we cannot be appointed in leadership positions. (There are only 2 women ministers out of 19 and 3 women superintendents out of 15 -and even at that 1 -from Bong County is suspended- we saw her holding the Minister of Internal Affairs foot the other day, SAD.)
• Because the “Little Girls” look for it that why domestic violence law cannot be passed (The bill has been lingering since your time in the Senate, you pledged to pass it or extend the Executive Order 92 in Brussels last year in Brussels, remember? You did not and it has not been passed)
• Because the “Little Girls” need to be put in their place and these plenty programs are disrupting the status quo that’s why you did not show up at the launch of the Spotlight (despite having asked for the postponement for over 8 months- we were sad to not see you but hear that you went to visit markets where women still do not have access to finance and where they cannot stay safe because of the same violence that Spotlight seeks to address)
Mr. President, you remain all of us Pa literally, as President and you need to respect us all. Gender-based violence, Violence Against Women in Elections and Politics is real and these stereotypes show up in diverse ways and we must recognize it and call it out. IT IS NOT OKAY!
We can do differently. You are our President and we ask you to lead on ending this menace!
I encourage the general public to take a cue and stop the unnecessary gender based attacks on female candidates. DON’T CHEER WHEN THESE ATTACKS ARE MADE.
Thank you for your attention.
I remain a law-abiding citizen and a Women’s Rights Advocate and a Feminist.
Facia Boyenoh Harris