Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

On Friday, 8 March, 2024, a cross section of women and men in Liberia thronged the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex to commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD), a day set aside to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women everywhere and to strategize on how to break down the barriers to achieving equality for all women.

This year’s commemoration was held under the global theme ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,’ and the national theme ‘Empower Her, Empower All.’ The themes emphasized the need to drive financial resources, policy support, and commitments towards achieving gender equality and are aligned with the priority theme of the  68th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68),  to be held in New York from 11 to 22 March 2024: ‘Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective.

Members of the United Nations Country team led by the Resident Coordinator, Christine Umutoni, members of the Diplomatic Community, representatives from Government ministries, women’s organisations, civil society among others, attended the celebrations, characterized by speeches, entertainment and a market exhibition.

In her welcome address, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Honourable Gbeme Horace-Kollie stressed the transformative power of investing in women, emphasizing that it not only enhances their decision-making abilities but also boosts their confidence and access to opportunities.

The theme colour for the commemoration was white, symbolizing peace, unity, and reconciliation. It served as a poignant reminder of the invaluable role women play in maintaining peace within their communities and the nation at large.

The keynote speaker, the First Lady of Liberia, Kartumu Yarta Boakai pledged Government support for women’s empowerment initiatives including promoting education, health and leadership roles as well as encouraging that both men and women ‘walk side by side’ for the development of the country. She urged Liberians to unite in relentless determination for sustainable development and the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Representatives of traditional practitioners, rural women, and youth groups emphasized the importance of equal participation, keeping girls in school, and providing empowerment opportunities, particularly for rural women. They stressed the urgent need to invest in women and strengthen gender-responsive budgeting as crucial steps towards achieving gender equality.

As part of the celebrations, the Second Lady of Liberia, Stephenie Dahn Koung, honored three women in public service for their dedication and commitment to serving their communities.

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection hosted the International Women’s Day celebrations with support from the United Nations in Liberia and partners.

Ms. Umutoni delivered an International Women’s Day statement from the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres,’ stressing the importance of supporting women’s organizations, investing in programs to end violence against women, and promoting women’s inclusion and leadership in various sectors such as economies, digital technologies, peacebuilding, and climate action.

Echoing the sentiments, Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Liberia Country Representative, emphasized three critical areas essential for addressing poverty-related issues and advancing gender equality: gender-responsive budgeting and planning, investment in women’s rights organizations, and the importance of gender-disaggregated data collection. Honourable Moima Briggs-Mensah from the Women’s Legislative Caucus and Honourable Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, the Pro-temp of the Liberian Senate reiterated the need to have gender responsive budgets.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Women – Africa.

By

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *