14 March 2019

Liberia: First Lady to Launch Initiative

First Lady Clar Marie Weah has disclosed plans to launch 'She's You Movement,' a national initiative aimed at advocating for gender equality across the country.

The gender advocacy program, which is expected to be launched in April this year, will highlight advocacy for women's economic empowerment and increased participation in key positions of leadership as well as quality education, and reproductive health, among others.

Madam Weah made the disclosure recently in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County, on the margins of programs marking the commemoration of International Women's Day.

The program was held under the theme: "Gender Equality for a better Liberia," and also marked the pre-launch of the First Lady's "She's You Movement."

According to her, the Movement is her way of responding to the increasingly alarming violations of women and girls' rights involving sexual and gender-based violence, especially rape, among other challenges.

"As your First Lady and Mother of the Nation, I feel your pains and want to work with you to address these challenges," she told hundreds of women at the Robertsport City Hall.

First Lady Weah condemned the various forms of violence against women and girls, terming them as "unacceptable," as it inflicts serious physical, psychological and reproductive health consequences and at most death on the victims.

Madam Weah pointed out that in order to give women their rightful status in society, "their voices must be heard; their tears must be noticed and their rights must be respected."

While reaffirming her commitment to the women of Liberia, the First Lady said she remains optimistic of a better future for Liberia in which the rights and responsibilities of both women and men will be equally valued and considered.

"I am quite aware that the huge gender inequalities women and girls experience stem from entrenched perceptions that are deeply rooted in our culture," said the Liberian First Lady.

"I am also aware that it will be difficult to change this. But I am confident that making a change for the right cause is possible," she added.

She encouraged Liberians to know that they can achieve it through hard work and determination which must start now."

Weah also praised the women for their collective work over the years in challenging the status quo and demanding their rights, thus contributing immensely to Liberia's current progress towards gender equality.

"You are our heroines and I am proud of you," Weah commended Liberian women.

Speaking earlier during an interactive section, the women expressed several concerns about challenges affecting their livelihood.

These challenges ranged from the lack of electricity and adequate drugs at the only main medical facility in the area coupled with poor roads, and a poor education system to the lack of empowerment for women.

According to the women, the situation was worsening their already deplorable living condition and they called on the First Lady and President George Manneh Weah to come to their aid.

In response, the First Lady assured that their concerns would be considered, although she affirmed that it would take time to respond to all of their problems.

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