President Weah who defined a feminist as a person who organizes activities on behalf of women’s rights and interests, with the objective of ensuring that they achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality, noted that these are exactly the things he did before ascending to the presidency, and pledged to do more while serving as head of state.
Speaking at the official launch of the International Sheroes Forum Liberia 2018 at the Monrovia City Hall on Wednesday, President Weah said his government under its Pro-Poor Agenda, which seeks to give power to the people, especially women equality, pledged to increase its effort to ensure women’s equal access to education and development.
“This year’s forum held under the theme: “Advancing Women Participation In Leadership” resonates very strongly with me as I have had the passion for the empowerment of women,” the Liberian leader emphasized.
He told the forum that encouraging women participation in leadership will enhance the prospects of Liberia’s growth and development, adding “I am of the conviction that affirmative action must be taken to foster greater inclusiveness of women in national leadership.”
He explained that 52 percent of Liberia’s population comprises women and as such, any attempt to restrict their full participation in national leadership will not only be a disservice to the country’s economic prospects but also deny them the opportunity to realize their full potentials to contribute meaningfully to national development.
According to President Weah, Liberia was the first country to move away from the stereotype that only men deserve to head African governments, when in 2005 they elected the first African female president in the person of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
“We continue to take pride in establishing this historical precedence” he added.
“In buttressing this primacy set by the country, I demonstrated my commitment to the cause of women advancement and participation in leadership by selecting a female vice running mate in 2017 who eventually became Liberia’s first female vice president following our victory in the elections,” the Liberian leader emphasized.
He added that his decision to increase the number of female representative candidates on his party’s ticket from 30 percent to 50 percent in keeping with the National Elections Commission, as well as his appointment of Liberia’s first female Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia and several other women in key positions is a demonstration of his stance on women empowerment.
The Liberian leader also pledged his government’s commitment to improving access to quality and efficient public healthcare in an effort to reduce Liberia’s maternal and infant mortality rate.
The International Sheroes Forum Liberia 2018 was graced by prominent African women leaders including former Malawian President Joyce Banda, former vice president of Zimbabwe, Joice Mujuru and former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
At the event, Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinabajo, Ghanaian President Nana Addo, and President George Weah were presented 2018 Sheroes Awards for their contributions to the empowerment of women across the continent.
The Sheroes Foundation is an advocacy organization headquartered in Ghana that promotes girls’ rights and women’s empowerment in Africa.
It focuses on economic and political empowerment as a means to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim of gender equality.