The exploitation of women as job applicants in Liberia


The Editor,

The article titled “Liberia Water & Sewer Deputy Managing Director Accused of Sexual Exploitation” is a matter that has permeated the halls of numerous governmental agencies and that of the private sector in Liberia. Although data indicates that significant gains have been achieved in the employment of women in professional fields of study, evidence indicates that a glaring loophole in women’s rights have not been addressed by the likes of the “feminist” Nobel Prize winners as  former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee : sexual exploitation of women in hiring and workplace ethics.

In today’s Liberia it is evident that gains have been made as we have experienced the first female African President (Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf) and vice president (Jewel Howard Taylor). These are gains that provide a general air of acceptance of the competence of women in the workplace. An illusion by far as the relative gains in important positions have not parlayed themselves into a broader perspective in the general workplace.

To note a particular example. Tonieh (name guarded) was a 2011 university graduate in the field of nursing. Since her graduation, Tonieh has been briefly employed during the Ebola crisis and several short contracts over the period of years. Her problem: Her good looks and her curvy posture. Tonieh: “I am qualified for jobs but the ones who determine the hiring always want me to come to a private meeting at a hotel, entertainment center, or their homes for second interviews. I refuse to do so under grounds of my faith and my respect for my body. Many of my friends have done it and not gotten a job. Also, those who have gotten jobs are indebted forever the person who hired them or termination is in the cards.”

President George Weah, the time has come for us to allow women to become stakeholders in the nation and not just figure heads that assume top positions. The workplace and the process of employment in the workplace should be based on performance and not the expectation of the sexual desires of the ones that employ such. These are mothers, daughters, sisters of all Liberians and they need to have their dignity respected as they pursue endeavors to provide for their families without being subject to the indignity of being proposed to with the promise of employment. The same applies to homosexual employers who subject their prospective applicants to the same deviant behaviors that have been “acceptable” in Liberian society.

I urge that women should record such advances, use their cellphones, tape recorders, video tapes and report such to the Ministry of Justice and the Gender Ministry and these individuals should be fired immediately. We must end this gross injustice and provide a safe and respectful atmosphere for all individuals regardless of their gender or any other characteristic that appeals to the potential employer.

John Weah

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