16 May 2017

Liberia: Societal Norms Undermine Women Political Participation

Former treasury of the opposition Liberty Party, Nuwoe Scott said she believes that societal norms are key factors that had kept women behind from exercising their franchise in the highest decision making processes of the nation.

Nuwoe Scott said she had worked closely with the Inter-Party Consultancy Committee (IPCC) at the level of the National Elections Commission to ensure that the new election law is amended; the part of the law that says each political party when submitting its listing should include 30 percent of a gender.

She maintained that traditional setting is also one of the many reasons why women had not been able to come up front to participate in leadership.

"But, as we go forward and women are trained, empowered and informed, they are beginning to embrace this delicate or new sense of coming up to path with their male counterparts", she bewailed.

Madam Scott made the observation over the weekend in Doe community when interviewed by Internews Women Journalist Fellows during a one-day citizen's engagement event organized by the Coalition of Political Parties Women in Liberia (COPPWILL).

The event was supported by United Nations Mission in Liberia through Naymote Partners for Democratic Development.

"We want our voices to be heard at the level of both the legislature and the executive for them to know that women are coming together to legislate this bill in order to resolve some of the serious health issues confronting mothers in the country," she narrated.

"We are the ones that go through child bearing, we know what the situations are because we are the ones that take care of the children, go through the shame and humiliation of being girlfriends, and ex-wives", Scott added.

According to her, she disagreed with comments that women are not weaker vessels they do things differently than the men.

She explained that from 1847 to 1947 women were not allowed to participate in electoral processes, because of the tradition women had always shy away from voting process, and coming up now is a gradual process.

Scott further stated that men were not enemies to women, but rather both are working along with one another.

She emphasized the need for more women to get involved with the electoral process at the district level.

"Every time there is an election, you get more than ten men running for a seat, why is that normal, why it should be abnormal for women to be more than five in a district," Scott indicated.

The program aimed at increasing women's representation in Liberia and to as well dispel rumors that women do not hold and work together.

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