-Women Legislative Caucus Chair
River Cess County District #1 Representative Rosana Schaack, last Wednesday implored President George Weah to redeem his promises to make the empowerment of women and girls a priority of his administration as the country moves forward.
Rep. Schaack chairs the county women's legislative caucus. Her challenge to President Weah came following the launch of both the Gender Unit at the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) and the Women's Land Rights Study, where she also asked the President to demonstrate his commitment to women empowerment by fulfilling his earlier assurance to advance women cause.
While addressing the recent European Development Day (EDD) Summit in Brussels, Belgium, President Weah assured that gathering that Liberia cannot fulfill its development objectives if the development of women were to be ignored as the women constitute more than 50 percent of the population.
The Summit was held on the overall theme, "Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, Empower and Invest."
Three sub-themes considered were, "Ensuring the Physical and Psychological Integrity of Girls and Women; Promoting Economic and Social Rights and Empowerment of Girls and Women; Strengthening Girls' and Women's Voice and Participation."
Weah further told his audience, "in my own country, issues of gender equality, sexual abuse and violence continue to be a major challenge. As the President, it is my responsibility to lead the efforts to address and rectify these glaring disparities in our social and economic environment."
So, while launching the project, Rep. Schaack informed her audience, "I will hold the President by his word to do what he has promised to do, seriously by the grace of God, we will hold him to his word."
She continued, "the President has said it, so we want to see the reality by working closely with him, including our rural colleagues to build a strong women movement so that they too can feel a part of the President's promises."
Schaack said the launch of the project will provide the the female lawmakers with more relevant information that would enable them to refine the land rights bill pending before the Legislature since 2014.
Besides, the land rights bill, the River Cess County lawmaker said that there were several other bills relating to women, of which some have been passed while others have not. But "together we can all look forward to the passage of those bills that would make women rights more stronger," she said.
Dr. Yohannes Gebremedhin, chief of party of USAID-LGSA, said his entity views the launch as an important pioneering measure towards achieving an equitable land governance system and, "by extension, economic and social empowerment of women."
Dr. Othello Brandy, LLA chair, sai, despite the important role played by women in shaping lives of many men, including President Weah, women are still being considered in some quarters as people relegated to the back of the society.
Dr. Brandy expressed the belief that if President Weah meant to change the status of women, he must first tackle the issue of women rights to land ownership.