8 March 2017

Liberia: Pres. Sirleaf Hails 'Tremendous Progress'

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has hailed the women of Liberia for making tremendous progress that has impacted not only Liberia but also the world with women advancing everywhere and every day.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the statement on Tuesday, March 7, at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville City when she opened this year's International Women Colloquium.

She recounted that the current gathering by women from around the world is a mark of coming to see what progress the aftermath of the 2009 International Women Colloquium has brought to Liberia since the first launch of the Colloquium in March of 2009.

This year' International Women's Day is held under the global theme: "Be Bold for Change," while the National Theme: "Women Bold in Change for a Better World."

The Liberian leader said the current gathering of women from around the world is a mark recollecting what Liberian women have achieved over the years and their presence in Liberia should be seen as a indication of celebrating women, since the 2005 elections, which brought Madam Sirleaf to power, as the first democratically elected woman President of Africa.

"Let us celebrate women's victory, and let us celebrate the women of Liberia," President Sirleaf told the huge gathering in her opening statement, which marked the commencement of the two women's event.

President Sirleaf noted that the celebration of Liberian women cannot be restricted to Liberia alone because, according to her, women across the world were making immense progress also like the women of Liberia.

President Sirleaf said the celebration should be about celebrating all women around the world for their advancements in competing with their male counterparts.

In her welcome remarks, Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell commended women of the world who were here during the first gathering of 2009 and for being in Liberia again for the second time for the conference.

Minister Cassell said the gathering was a historic event for Liberian women and women of the world, noting that the gathering was meant for peace, women leadership and women's empowerment to build a wholesome functioning society with the participation of women.

For her part, Ms. Theresa Fernandes De La Vega, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidency of the Kingdom of Spain and Co-Convener of the Colloquium paid tribute to President Sirleaf for her excellent leadership.

She described the Liberian leader as a champion for women's rights in Liberia and Africa in general and congratulated the organizers for a successfully planned program.

Also speaking at the gathering was Special Guest Donatille Mukabalisa, Speaker of the Chambers of Deputies, Rwandan Parliament, who commended President Sirleaf and the people of Liberia for the warm reception and hospitality accorded her since her arrival in the country.

She said gender empowerment and gender equity are key to economic growth and development, describing the Liberian leader as "a pride of women in Africa," adding that "Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf you are our pride, not just in Liberia, but in Africa."

Topics discussed during the break up sessions included "Promoting Women's Leadership Through the Exchange of Experience and Expertise amongst Female Leaders"; "Enhancing Women's Political Participation through Policy Dialogue" to discuss the constitutional and legislative reforms and building alliances and networking for gender equity, among others.

The International Women Colloquium is being Co-convened by President Sirleaf and Ms. Theresa Fernandes De La Vega, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Kingdom of Spain.

Day Two of the Colloquium will be an honoring program for President Sirleaf by the Women of Liberia to mark activities for International Women's Day.

The opening ceremony was graced by senior government officials, as well as international guests, women, current and former leaders, students, youth, marketers, rural women of Liberia and traditional leaders, among others.

In another development, President Sirleaf made a brief stopover at the Palm Grove Cemetery on Center Street in Monrovia to inspect ongoing works.

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