LIBERIA: Senator Jewel Howard Taylor Opts For Women Participation

Bong County Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor has alarmed over fears of insecurity of women’s participation across government, thereby stressing the need to have an affirmative action bill that would help secure seats exclusively for women.

“So, we’re trying to make an equal participation clause in our constitution real by finding additional seats for women; securing those seats that will be all women seats. So, at least this way we will

have more women in the Legislature,” Sen. Taylor told the Truth Breakfast Show on Truth 96.1 Fm on Monday, 4 January.

The former wife of ex-President Charles G. Taylor observed that women’s participation across government was being reduced, despite the ascendency of the first female President of Liberia.

Senator Taylor stressed that to go into 2017 elections and continues to lose seats; the affirmative action bill would help secure seats for women.

She contended that women were currently a minority voice in the Legislature on grounds that out of the 103 Legislators, only 11 were women. Sen. Taylor further said that about a year-old listing available to her indicates that out of 19 ministries, only three are [being headed by] women, after losing “almost five” cabinet ministers.

According to her, out of 26 public corporations, women headed only five, while there were only two female county superintendents out of 15 counties as of last year. “And it tells you that we’re losing grip even with a female president; and every time a woman gets removed from office, there’s a man that’s appointed,” she claimed.

She argued that the 50-50 participation demanded by the constitutional conference was not in reality; therefore, affirmative action, statue or procedures and programs could help make that a reality.

As for the political parties here, she cited an instance that in Speaker Alex Tyler’s newly launched Liberian People Democratic Party or LPDP, there’s only one seat for the women wing, while the entire party is ‘purely men.’

She also recalled how in 2005, the party she’s leading today – the former governing National Patriotic Party or NPP submitted a list of purely men without any woman, and the National Elections Commission, at that time, had to return the list before her name was added in the dire minutes.

But she extended congratulations to the opposition Congress for Democratic Change or CDC for being the only party that, she said, has gone beyond the bloc to bring prominent women on board from the communities.

According to Sen. Taylor, over the past three elections, the CDC “…will go out of their way to find women,” arguing that the CDC has been the only political party that has gone beyond the bloc to bring on board women candidates from the communities.

By Winston W. Parley

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