Monrovia — President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has appointed more women to positions in government than at any time in the nation's history.
Women hold 31 percent of top ministerial posts, 29 percent of the Deputy Minister positions, and 25 of the Assistant Minister posts. These statistics are contained in a recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Gender and Development.
According to the survey, women head the following Ministries: Justice (Cllr. Christiana Tah); Education (Etmonia David Tarpeh); Agriculture (Dr. Florence Chenoweth); Commerce and Industry (Miata Beysolow); Labour (Vabah Gayflor) and Gender and Development (Julia Duncan Cassell).
At the start of her administration, in 2006, President Sirleaf appointed women to head the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Justice and Commerce and Industry, representing 22 percent of the Cabinet.
Also today, women head 28 percent of 25 key government agencies. These include: the National Port Authority (Mathilda Parker); Bureau for Immigration and Naturalization (Alba G. Williams); the General Services Agency (Pearine Davis-Parkinson); Monrovia City Corporation (Acting Mayor Mary Broh); the Center for National Documents and Records (Bloh Sayeh); the Environmental Protection Agency (Anyaa Vohiri); and the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (Dr. Wvannie-Mae McDonald).
The survey further reports that, in Liberia's 15 counties, 5 of the Superintendents - 33.3 percent -- are women, as are three of the 15 Assistant Superintendents, or 20 percent.
Several of the key governance entities are headed by women, among them, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (Frances Johnson Allison); National Elections Commission (Elizabeth Nelson); and the Public Procurement Concession Commission (Peggy Varfley Meres).
Liberian women have made huge gains, breaking through from marginalization in a once male-dominated society. Nevertheless efforts to increase, through legislation, to at least 30 percent, the number of women in the National Legislature, have stalled.
On June 27, at the induction program of the Women's Legislative Caucus, President Sirleaf challenged female legislators to re-introduce the 30 percent Gender Equity Bill and guarantee its passage into law.
She indicated that Liberia, as a member of the comity of nation which upholds international norms, must follow other countries, like Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda and Senegal, and pass the 30 percent Gender Equity Bill.
"Supporting women's public roles and increasing the number of women in leadership positions is critical to ensure that Liberia becomes a vibrant, inclusive and effective democracy," President Johnson Sirleaf asserted.