LIBERIA: “Increase Women Representation In The Legislature” – Says Aspirant F. Eva Johnson
By Amos Harris
Representative Aspirant of District # 1 Montserrado County, Madam F. Eva Johnson, has disclosed that more women are needed in the National Legislature to increase the voices of women at the national level. “We need to work together in the interest of the District and our children”.
Speaking at the Headquarters of the National Elections Commission (NEC) in Sinkor over the weekend, when she submitted her document to NEC to contest in District #1 Montserrado County, she said “we can do it together as a family in the interest of District # 1.
Meanwhile, aspirant Johnson disclosed that women need to focus on a policy that will improve conditions for women instead of emphasizing projects such as building schools, clinics and other infrastructure.
“How many clinics do we need,’’ she asked. “Can we work with the existing clinics or schools, instead of trying to build new structures when there are no enough doctors, nurses and teachers to run them?’’
Madam Johnson noted that women need to improve their chances in winning elections. Women aspiring for offices need to develop clear and consistent messages in their engagements with voters.
Representative aspirant Johnson alluded to Section 4.5 of the New Elections Law which states that political parties “should endeavor’’ to have no less than 30 percent of the list of candidates submitted to the NEC.
The Electoral Reform Law proposes that the section should read: “A list of candidates submitted to the NEC for an election shall have no less than 30 percent of the candidates from each gender.’’
“There is nothing binding in the current Election Law that compels political parties to have 30 percent of both genders,’’ Johnson said. “We have to create an enabling environment for women to enter politics. ’Electoral violence is also another barrier facing women in politics.
Legal reform is the best option for obtaining gender equity in the political space. She said. “For us to vote the first time in Liberia, it had to be through a referendum,’’ she said, citing the 1946 referendum that granted women in urban areas the right to vote and possess property in 1955. Women in rural areas won the right to vote.
Meanwhile, F. Eva Johnson disclosed that women participation in politics and decision-making will enable them to bring different perspectives, experiences and approaches to solving problems, and making the necessary representation in women’s interest across different issues.
According to her, if women and men can work and make decisions together the country as a whole will be able to meet the development challenges it faces if women are part of the decision-making process.
Madam Johnson said research from agencies like UN Women has shown that when women are equally represented in the national government, more investment is directed to health, education, and social welfare.
Having more women in leadership is also linked to stability and peace. They also serve as role models for girls and young women. Equal gender representation in decision-making is not only the right and just thing to do, but it is also fine and smart politics.
Liberian women’s involvement in politics is a just struggle to advance women’s participation in the decision-making process of the nation. The time has come to create an enabling environment that will tackle the barriers and resistance to women’s political participation that has confronted ladies’ for many years.