Liberia: Women Forum Gears Up

As the 2020 mid-term senatorial election gradually draws near, the Liberia Women National Political Forum, commonly known as The Forum, has begun to strategize to support female candidates.

The Coordinating Committee of the Forum and several women organizations met Thursday at a mass meeting in Sinkor, Monrovia, to begin brainstorming on how to select and support female candidates in the ensuing 2020 senatorial election.

The acting National Coordinator of the Forum Madam Marayah L.W.N. Fyneah told The NEWS that during the jammed packed meeting, it was agreed that the Coordinating Committee begins to scout for potential female aspirants for the 2020 senatorial election.

Already, she said the Forum has received letters from seven female aspirants who have declared their intention to contest the 2020 senatorial election.

Madam Fyneah said the Forum will engage state and non-state actors to solicit support for women candidates.

She said the Forum will shortly embark on a tour in the counties to encourage and inspire women to contest the upcoming senatorial election.

Madam Fyneah said the participation of women in elections is critical to the growth and development of any country, with Liberia being no exception.

She said the Forum will engage international partners to support female candidates not through workshops, but to ensure that they become victorious during the pending senatorial election.

The acting National Coordinator said women have over the years receiving several trainings from international partners, but now need other supports that will make them succeed in their electoral quest.

She disclosed that during the meeting, the women agreed to re-launch their manifesto which is usually launched before every election.

The manifesto, according to her, was first launched in 2005. The Liberian Women's Manifesto is an instrument that inculcates a wide spectrum of many different issues confronting the National Women's Constituency of Liberia and further provides an answer about how those issues can be surmounted. The Women's Manifesto was birthed as a national public policy document in 2005 and has since existed.

She said the women agreed that the re-launching of the manifesto should be done in honor of the late Madam Ruth Caesar, founding National Coordinator of the Forum who passed some time ago.

Madam Fyneah also said the Forum will also launch its dollar rally to raise fund to support female candidates.

She said the Forum is a neutral and independent network, which consists of specialized Women Organizations, working to achieve increased representation and inclusion of women in decision-making and leadership.

Organized in 2005, The Forum is a platform where female politicians, women groups, political parties and institutions discuss issues of interests, is jointly managed by professional women organizations, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection.

She said the Forum is prepared to work with every political party including the ruling party, as its objective to promote female candidates during electoral period.

The Forum, she said, is working to promote the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (OP-CEDAW), which is an international treaty that establishes complaint and inquiry mechanisms for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), as well as the African Union Protocol on Women's Rights, among others.

The objective of the Forum is to ensure the removal of all constraints (socio-cultural, economics, and political) in all sectors - public, and private and promote programs that supports women full participation at all levels including building capacity as aspirants and candidates in electoral processes; to create, build and strengthen networks of organizations that are meaningful to promoting the welfare of women in the political, socio-economic settings; to conduct media campaigns and provide publicity that supports the Forum programs including:

Women lead discussions; meetings; debates on the critical issues of governance, nation and state-building issues of de-centralization; to identify and implement new strategies to increase women participation in decision-making at all levels, among others.

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