Madam Cooper: "Our male counterparts will help some of us to overcome the many challenges we endure including the traditional practice of FGM; women being marginalized and some of the cases of SGBV."
Celebrates Int'l Women's Day, seeking gender equality...
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender and Children Protection, on March 8, 2019, celebrated this year's International Women's Day (IWD) under the Global theme, "Balance for Better" and the national theme, "Gender Equality for Innovative Change."
The celebration, which was held at a resort in Monrovia, was characterized by a drama highlighting the importance of educating a girl child and the impact on women's economic.
The event brought together over 60 participants, mainly women, from across the country. IRC Country Director, Faith Akovi Cooper, underscored the importance of men working alongside women as their counterparts, who would help some of them overcome the many challenges their colleagues in the country are faced with, including the traditional practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); women being marginalized and some of the reported cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
Madam Cooper said the fight for women to get equal with their male counterpart is challenging, and therefore women should seek for collective efforts to include 'even some of the men.'
She added, "there is one thing I always tell people, wherever I am speaking at high level event, to my friends or to the real foot soldiers in the field; the reality is that no one person or institution can do it alone. It takes a collaborative effort, commitment and all of us to truly work together as a team. There is no 'I' in the team. What we know is without a team, none of this fight will be possible."
Madam Cooper said to get the change that women want, it will require government and partners' intervention, thereby bringing on board education stakeholders to protect the children.
She said at government's sponsored program in commemoration of the IWD in Kakata, Margibi County, all the 15 speakers separately talked about the issues of SGBV, poor education system, disrespecting women in society, reports of raping minors.
According to her, nearly all the speakers want immediate end to some of the laws affecting the women locally and on the international scene. "Women in Liberia need to be tired of what is happening in this country. I don't know how much we pay attention to those things, but we are seriously in a tragic situation when it comes to the way women are treated, particularly our young girls," Madam Cooper said.
Madam Kebbeh Monger, president of the Liberia National Rural Women structure (LNRW), said women participation in every facet of society cannot be overly emphasized. She challenged her colleagues, specifically the young ones to determined, focused and willing to learn new skills.
IWD is celebrated on March 8 every year and is a focal point in the movement for women's rights. After the Socialist Party of America organized a Women's Day on February 28, 1909 in New York, the 1910 International Socialist Woman's Conference suggested a Women's Day be held annually.
This year's celebration theme focuses on innovative ways in which women can advance gender equality and empowerment, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure, etc.
IRC-Liberia has worked for the past 20 years with adolescents, giving them hope, make them impactful, help them have the opportunity to make the right chose and understand what their rights are. It has supported five government-run gender-based violence one-stop centers located at Star of the Sea in West Point, Duport Road in Paynesville, Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town, James N. Davis Jr., and Hope for Women Hospital in Paynesville.
The centers offer a range of free clinical, psycho-social, case management and an option for justice services for survivors of gender-based violence. Since December 2016, the IRC said that the program has provided timely, quality gender-based violence services to 3,442 individuals through the five centers in Montserrado County.