Panelists at last week’s one-day symposium of the Armed Forces of Liberia have suggested “flexible” criteria for the recruitment of more females into the military. This report says that women representation in the AFL has drop drastically from 8 percent in 2012 to 3.2 percent in 2020 and that does not augur well for the country.
Major General Prince Charles Johnson, III, Chief of Staff of the Liberian Army made the disclosure during a one-day symposium on Wednesday, February 5 in Monrovia.
He said the United Nations Resolution 1325 calls for 15 percent of women representation in the military but that is not the case in Liberia at the moment.
He told a gathering of both local and international community during activities marking the observance of 63rd anniversary celebration of the Liberian Army that the need to recruit more women into the service cannot be overemphasized.
General Johnson said the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) will consider any meaningful recommendations or strategies from either private or public sector to help their recruitment drive that would encourage more females to join the service and contribute to their country.
However, Panelists during the symposium spoke in one accord with more emphasis being placed on the criteria coupled with the training or physical exercise component of the recruitment.
With that, the panelists want “flexible” criteria to encourage more females to join the military service so as to increase their representation as compared to now.
Liberia Immigration Service (LIS’s) Deputy Commissioner, Asatu Bah-Kanneh said equal representation must include position, salary, and participation among others.
While Emmanuel Bowier, a Prominent Citizen, said there were women in the military but they were never involved or were not among those who removed the late President William Richard Tolbert in 1980.
For Faith Cooper of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), she observed that there is barrier in the security sector of the country but fell short to state same. However, Cooper stated that action plan was needed.
Madam Marie Goreth Nizigama, United Nations Country’s Representative for United Nations’ Women promised to help the AFL develop a policy or action plan including public awareness to change perception.
For Cecil Griffith, Head, Center for Criminal Justice, Research and Education, admonished the AFL to increase its outreach programme for women in its recruitment exercise.
While Swedish Ambassador Ingrid Wetterqvist, stated that the AFL needs to be like the police that attracted more young women and men into the service. She said in Sweden it took them long time for such programme.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief of Staff Geraldine George said AFL recruitment, one needs to pass all of the tests or examination therefore, as such, it is not a halfway thing as people would think.
“To be a part of the AFL you need to be prepared to serve your country and not yourself,” she noted.