-Ms. Morris says 'business is very slow these days'
Amidst Liberia daunting economic and financial challenges, ActionAid Liberia in collaboration with Medica Liberia has called on stakeholders to ensure that national policy reflects women entrepreneurs' empowerment.
Patience Landford, ActionAid Liberia head of program and policy, made the remarks on Tuesday during a one-day women's economic justice policy dialogue in Monrovia, which brought together businesswomen from Monrovia and its environs.
Madam Landford said the engagements of stakeholders and women entrepreneurs at a forum is aimed at addressing some of the issues confronting women's economic empowerment, including access to resources and markets for total empowerment.
"We felt that it was necessary to begin this conversation and to push duty bearers to be able to influence policy that reflects the need of women in the economy and to ensure that women have access to new markets, credit line and to take feminist approach. We are concerned about the establishment of national policy that reflects the need of women," Ms. Landford said.
She said the policy dialogue by the two organizations is aimed at addressing the current economic issues faced by women entrepreneurs, specifically pertaining to women's economic empowerment and access to justice. The one-day engagement brought together 30 women entrepreneurs.
The revamping of Liberia's economic and financial problems is yet to receive any solution as many business people continue to strive in sustaining their businesses and families.
She emphasized Medica Liberia along with the ActionAid Liberia program component that focuses on securing economic justice for women's economic empowerment in Liberia.
"ActionAid Liberia is now launching its global campaign that looks at the pay care work but in the Liberian context. We will launch research that validates that response as well. We realized that there is a gap in terms of gender responses services to meet the need of women and to ensure that women have access to market," she said.
Madam Landford said the informal sector plays a key role in the country's economy and calls for the attention or support of everyone, particularly the government, because it contributes to the revenue growth.
"We need to ensure that women in the informal sector, especially women entrepreneurs are equally represented in decision-making including their voices and influence help to drive the policy agenda of Liberia. We hope that women are fully aware of their rights," she said.
Rebecca Jacobs, an entrepreneur at the Old Road Market, called on fellow entrepreneurs to always engage in paying taxes.
"I like the club money for the improvement of business over the bank loan. I like to encourage people to engage in club business in order to improve their business," said Ms. Rebecca who started selling since 1990.
"The business is doing well for me and family members. You have to be patient because some people or customers don't have patience. Again, business is very slow these days," Ms. Yatta Morris who mothered four children and sells at the Old Road Market, told newsmen.
Maima Pelham, owner of Camfashion Designs, said getting a loan, especially for small business remains very challenging, and hope that some things will be done to address the situation.
"I applied for a loan, but notice that I got the money because my husband knew someone in the bank. But as a young businesswoman who knows that women should be at the top level, I felt bad and had to follow-up with others. We need to be supported because women and men are going to drive the economy," Mrs. Pelham said.