A local pro-democracy and women's rights advocacy group working in Southeastern Liberia, the National Institute for Public Opinion (NIPO), has concluded a one-day dialogue on women's political participation in Sinoe County.
The dialogue was aimed at deepening debates around the participation of women in politics and decision-making positions within the county as articulated in goal number five of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which promptly advocates for gender equality and women empowerment (GEWE) globally.
The dialogue, held on Friday, January 25, 2019, at the Greenville City Hall, brought together 52 participants representing six males and 46 females.
Its objectives were to increase the knowledge and understanding of women and girls on power and politics, with a view to increasing their voices across Sinoe County.
The conference also identified critical challenges and issues impeding women's political participation, to strengthen and/or improve the capacity of women and girls and animate them into taking practical actions that are supportive of increasing their voices in politics and leadership of the county.
As in other parts of the country, women's political participation in the southeast remains a critical challenge due to a number of realities, the most prevalent being cultural persuasions, inadequate power relations, limited or low economic might of women and girls, coupled with a male dominant political culture which continues to suppress, marginalize and discriminate against women and girls.
Activities during the dialogue included lecture sessions, small group discussions, role plays and open interactive discussions between male and female participants. Beneficiaries included female politicians, women in local government, community women and members of the Sinoe County Women Platform.
Participants strongly committed themselves to strengthen the Women Platform of the county and use it as a medium in standing up for their rights.
They also committed to working closely with their community leaders, local government officials, political authorities of the county and traditional leaders in making sure that their voices are heard and that years of discrimination and marginalization of women and girls are ended.
Male participants acknowledged that their society, which is heavily dominated by men, has not been fair and balanced in their treatment of and relation to women and girls.
They admitted that men have been the chief agents undermining the participation of women and girls in politics and decision making and expressed regrets for said mistreatment of the female population.
The participants promised to work alongside the Women Platform in making sure that other men are encouraged to stand up for the promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls to politics, leadership and decision-making processes in the county.