LIBERIA: Ministry of Labour Launches Gender And Social Inclusion Unit…

Labour Minister, Cllr. Charles Gibson

Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson says achieving gender balance in the employment sector is not only national responsibility, but an international calling that all should rise to and support each other to ensure that women are emancipated and given equal opportunity for employment.

He said those who cannot be employed must be empowered through entrepreneurship and provided opportunity to self-employment.

Minister Gibson said gender is a priority of the Government of Liberia noting that recently, the Government ensured the ratification of an important ILO Convention which provide for equal work for equal pay regardless of gender.

A convention Liberia failed to ratify over the period of 70-years, but because President George Manneh Weah is the Famine In-Chief was concerned about delay in the ratification of this convention and instructed the Ministry of Labour to ensure it immediate ratification.

The Labour Minister Gibson made these assertions on Thursday, September 15, 2022, at the official launching program of the Gender and Social Inclusion Unit of the Ministry of Labour held at the EJS Ministerial Complex in Monrovia.

He said the convention provides that women should be paid equally as men in the workplace; It also provides that there should be no disparities because of their gender.

According to him, the Ministry of Labour has achieved a great milestone by depositing the “Equal Work for Equal Pay” Convention and two others with the ILO Governing Body in Geneva.

He recounted recent statement made by President Weah which now constitute a policy of government on September 13, 2022, during the commissioning of the digital work permit platform at the Ministry of Labour when he said, the “Employment both in the public and private sectors should be gender equity.

Therefore, there should be no disparity between man and woman in the workplaces adding that in an employment facilitate with 1000 employees, we expect equal quantity of men and women, and we can achieve this through capacity building.

Speaking further, Minister Gibson said the United Nations office in Liberia has been working with the Ministry of Labour and through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection his Ministry has established a Gender Unit at the Ministry of Labour. He informed the public that for the first time in the history, Ministry of Labour has employed two females as Labour Commissioners a position which was seen as a man job.

Launch the Unit on behalf the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Williametta E. Saydee Tarr, the Acting Hon. Hassan A. Karneh, said that the sitting up Gender and Social Inclusion Unit at the Ministry of Labour comes as a recommendation from the Revised National Gender Policy of 2017.

Acting Karneh noted this initiative is an effort by the government of Liberia to transitioned from the Gender Desk or Gender Focal Person (GFP) to Gender and Social Inclusion Units (GSIU) to ensure gender mainstreaming and social inclusion efforts into sectors plans, programs, and policies as well as institutionalize Gender Responsive Budget process, and as a means of empowerment for sustainable and equitable development, in order to create and strengthen gender responsive structures and mechanisms in which both women and men can participate and benefit from development programs on equal basis[1].

He said few years ago, the MGCSP worked with The Millennium Challenge Account and rolled out this recommendation by establishing the GSIU in four entities: MGCSP, MME, LEC and MPWs. We continued the process with our UN counterpart, specifically, UN Women, who supported us by hiring consultants to develop GSIU policies and procured furniture for four institutions namely: MOA, MIA, MoCI and of course MOL.

The Acting Gender Minister indicated that the President of Liberia, H.E. George M. Weah, has also mandated that this initiative be rolled across both public and private sectors and so we will continue to move this process until we have achieved our goal. Presently, we are working with MOE, LACC, MOH and NIC, again with support from UN Women.

“We are glad for the financial and technical support from our partners and we look forward to receiving more in this direction. This will help to reduce the inequalities in our country and ensure we also have information that can inform inclusion” Acting Karneh noted.

Providing the overview of the newly established Unit, the Director for the Gender and Social Inclusion Unit of the Ministry of Labour, Mrs. Enad S. Harris Doe outlines the importance for the Ministry of Labour to ensure that gender and social inclusion policies are adequately addressed in the labor market, both private and public sectors to ensuring gender sensitive policies issues under goal five of sustainable development goals.

According to Mrs. Doe, the Ministry of Labour Went through the required process for the establishment of Gender and Social Inclusion Unit in fulfilment of National Gender Policy Framework Implementation, something which the Ministry of Labour collaborated with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to develop the gender policy, plan, and program. She said the Unit will coordinate and facilitate the efficient exchange of information and knowledge between the Ministries of Labour and Gender, Children and Social Protection including agencies of government.

Representatives of several line-Ministries and Agencies of government, local and international partners including UN Women, ILO, US Embassy, Civil Service Agency, APM Terminal, Golden Veroleum, Acrlor-Mittal amongst others expressed support for the establishment of the Gender and Social Inclusion Unit at the Ministry of Labour.

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