21 December 2012

Liberia: Gender & Development Ministry's Mandate Questioned

The Country Director of Action Aid Liberia, an international women's rights advocate group, has called on the Government of Liberia (GoL) to change the Ministry of Gender and Development. According to Madam Kortu Williams, since the creation of the Ministry by law, it has not fully live up to its statutory mandate.

"The role of the Ministry of Gender and Development is to look at issues arising from unequal power relation [between both sexes] in Liberia, but it has only been about women, women and women," she said. Although the issues of women rights and protection are very critical in the country, she pointed out that both gender should be deeply involved to tackle the issues head-on,

"We agree that women are the ones who are [most] poor in Liberia, we agree that women are lower than men when it comes to the development indicators, but the Ministry of Gender mandate is not only tied down to this," Madam Williams stated. Madam Williams continued: "When we talk about gender, it is no specific reference to only female or male, it concerns the role that society places on a particularly group of people."

Madam Williams thinks the name of the Ministry is also the cause why its head has not gotten more programs to tackle women and men issues. She made these assertions in Monrovia recently when she served as one of the facilitators of a two-day media training workshop on gender-based violence.

The two-day media training workshop brought together several journalists, particularly reporters of the Journalist Against Sexual and Gender-based Violence (JASA/GVB) network in Monrovia and its environs. The Training was organized by the Journalist For Human Rights (JHR), a Canadian-based media organization operating here with support from the Liberia Media Center (LMC).

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