A three-day ‘All Men’s Conference’ under the theme: ‘Gender equality: A call for men’s action NOW—Repair the past and push women forward’ has kicked off in Gbarnga, Bong County.
The national conference is being convened under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection with support from the Government of Sweden through the United Nations in Liberia at the Gbarnga Administration Building.
The conference which is ongoing covers discussions on all forms of violence against women and how men can get involved, using legal instructions as well as common sense that women are partners to men in every sphere of life or livelihoods.
This year’s conference will further address issues affecting women and girls with male participants as champions to ending violence against women and girls in the country.
The conference is predicated upon the assumption that gender equality is necessary not just for the growth of females as participants within our society, but also in addressing poverty reduction and human development challenges among both populations making society.
The conference is exploring challenges to achieving gender equality and push for increased women’s representation at all levels of governance and also provide the space and opportunity on information sharing and formulate strategies to get men involved in the advocacy campaign, while reaffirming their commitments to gender equality and zero tolerance to gender violence.
This year’s conference which runs from June 11-13, 2018, is targeted at increasing men’s involvement in this advocacy and other activities to address key issues affecting women and girls as well as increasing their access to information about women issues among other things.
Last year, the Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection held the 1st All Men’s Conference bringing together stakeholders and actors with the understanding that without men’s involvement, gender equality cannot be achieved.
As a result of this first conference, a communiqué was signed but outcomes could not be followed-up due to the 2017 Presidential and Representative Elections. However, over the period, issues affecting women and girls are still being reported and is said to be increasing on a rapid basis.
Some of the topics for this year’s All Men’s Conference are; The Role of Men to End Violence against women; The importance of girls’ education in national development; Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights; Property rights ( e.g. Land rights); Equal work Equal pay ( Employment ) and Women’s political participation in local governance.
Even though there are commitments, there are still high prevalence of gender based violence and inequality amongst women and girls as recent statistics from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection shows that in 2017, a total of 1,685 GBV cases were recorded, with 97% of the survivors being women and girls.
Meanwhile, over 300 all male participants including: media practitioners, CSOs heads, NGOs heads, Legislators, Traditional Leaders, Religious Leaders, Ministers and Director Generals, Judges, Youth groups, Student Council leadership, Motorcyclists Union, Money Changers, Political Parties, Transport Union, Marketing Association, Tailor Union, Wheel Barrow Union and the Liberia Musical Union are participating in the conference.