From Vivian Gartayn Lombeh | Minister Counselor/Press and Public Affairs |Liberia Permanent Mission to the United Nations |
(New York, March 13, 2018) Liberia’s Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Williametta Piso Saydee Tarr has called on delegates attending the 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) to not only identify issues affecting women living in rural areas but propose practical ways to address them.
The Commission on the Status of Women, the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women is convening on the theme: “Challenges and Opportunities in Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls”.
Recalling the failure of the 57th session of the CSW to reach a conclusion on a theme for rural women in 2012, Minister Tarr said it was high time for concrete global actions to ensure that women have equal access to basic social services, land and natural resources.
Minister Tarr who is heading a delegation of Liberian women from Government and the Civil Society, observed that despite the significant contributions rural women and girls make to peace, economies and other sectors of society, they are often poor and vulnerable, subjected to a life full of violence and harmful practices.
Stressing that rural women and girls deserve better, Minister Tarr pledged the Government of Liberia’s commitment to continue to invest in women and girls especially those living in rural areas. “Going forward, the Liberian Government commits to doing more within the government’s pro-poor agenda to enact economic and social policies to eradicate rural poverty and support decent work and income security for women living in the rural areas, and strengthen their collective voice, leadership and decision-making capacity” she assured.
A dispatch from Liberia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations quotes Minister Tarr as saying that the government was working with the National Rural Women Structure to ensure that Government’s programs target the poorest, most vulnerable and excluded women and deliver the expected outcome.
The Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister named the strengthening of legal frameworks and elimination of laws and policies that discriminate against women and girls, expansion of access to financial services and capacity building as some of the investments being made to address the plights of rural women and girls in Liberia.
Minister Tarr said though progress is being made, the challenges confronting the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of rural women and girls were huge and stressed the need for continuous collaboration and partnerships nationally, regionally and internationally.
Opening the Conference on Monday, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said supporting rural women is essential to fulfilling the global pledge to eradicate poverty and to create a safer, more sustainable world on a healthy planet.
The UN Secretary General observed that although a marginalized group, rural women and girls were often the backbone of their families and communities, managing land and resources.
Lamenting the discrimination against women, Mr. Guterres said centuries of patriarchy and discrimination have left a damaging legacy and called it the “the greatest human rights challenge of our time”.
He said “progress for women and girls would mean changing the unequal power dynamics that underpin discrimination and violence.” and encouraged all men to support women’s rights and gender equality.
For her part, the chair of the CSW, Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland said the current session is a key moment on the path to ending discrimination against women and girls once and for all and challenged the Commission to do more to ensure that women no longer take second place around the world.