By Festus Poquie
This Year’s national orator for World Women Day celebration in Liberia has called for global effort to redefine the status of women by encouraging their participation in making decision that shift the destiny of the world.
Mr. David Williams said to enhance efficiency and deliverability of the sustainable development goals that among other things, calls for gender equity by 2030 around the globe, member countries of the United Nations should start thinking about electing a Female secretary general to replace the current secretary general of the United Nations by 2018.
With woman seated at the helm of the world body, Mr. Williams indicated will serves as precedence for breaching the gender disparity between men and women globally.
“For decades men have and continue to lead and direct activities of the world towards achieving global peace, security and development; yet everyday there are incidents of war, women and children continue to be murdered in cold blood around the world by extremists and people continue to die from starvation in some places around the world. I am therefore calling on women around the globe to join the campaign for PARITY by ensuring that the world sees reason to elect a woman to steer the affairs of the United Nation for the next four years after the term of Mr. Ban K-Moon. Liberia, my country is an example of good women leadership where decades of civil conflict was resolved by electing Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as President in 2005 and since then there has been steady progress and no incidents of war for more than a decade,” He asserted.
Williams who heads the country’s National Port Authority (NPA) said the misplaced notion about women roles in society must be replaced by progressive thinking because to do otherwise is to continue to marginalize them and belittled their contribution to the economic well-being of their respective countries and the world at large.
He however, pointed out the call for gender parity will be difficult to achieve if women are not qualified to take on the mantle of authority.
Delivering his oration in the port city of Buchanan Williams implored Women in Liberia and across Africa to prioritize education as a catalyst to their growth and development. He noted women are capable, and with support and will power, the parity goal is within reach.
“It is therefore my believe that with determination and courage to pursue higher education, Liberia Charter of the UN women can produce another Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the future whose history will be a symbol for the African continent,” he said, adding that the governance of the world or any nation is likely impossible when capable and competent women are not placed in pivotal positions
The NPA Chief indicated the time is now for the world to promote gender parity by giving women the chance to lead the world and set the basis for “planet 50-50 comes 2030”.
“If a woman is treated fairly in relationship to her male counterparts in a society or organization, such society or organization is bound to be successful in its pursuit of shared society outcomes. Women devotion to country reflects their commitment to good governance and as such, there is a need to place women in pivotal positions for which they are equally qualified,” Williams said.
The Women day program was observed under the national theme: “Pledge for Parity by 2030: Step it up for gender equity” along with the global theme, “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it Up for Gender Equality”, which calls on countries to make specific commitments at the national level to address the challenges that are holding back women and girls from reaching their full potential.
In that regard, Mr. Williams paid tribute to Liberia’s progress relative o commitment in reducing gender inequality and urged for more efforts to nip the structural impediments to women advancement.
“We are proud to note that in line with this global call for action, our dear country, Liberia, is among the countries of the world that have made specific pledges to ensure gender equality by 2030 by stepping it up to achieve, among other things, the passage of the Domestic Violence Law, enforce the law that denies bail to those who commit rape, and guarantee women’s full participation in governance and national affairs a priority. These national commitments are bold and progressive, and I fully endorse them and ask all well-meaning Liberians to do similarly.
“Our country Liberia is among member countries of the United Nations that have a unique history when it comes to women contribution to the socio-economic and political growth of nations and I believe it is about time to pursue gender parity when it comes to participation in National decision making by committing ourselves individually and collectively to the process of achieving the goal of having equal participation of gender in every sector of our society by 2030. This will require commitments by all sides — males eschewing anything that takes away from the common parity agenda — and women continuing to qualify themselves in order to remain competitive As a founding member of the United Nations and signatory to most of the resolutions that have to do with global harmonization of ideas on peace, security and development, we are under obligation to set the basis for achieving “planet 50-50 by 2030”which is the United Nations goal for gender balance by 2030 around the globe”.
Williams further told the gathering “The debate on the role of women in societies and their participation in economic activities has sparked a lot of controversies for a considerable period of time. To this effect, different groups of people – women groups, government, development partners, and civil society group have championed many arguments to support their positions. Those who are against the increased participation of women in all spheres of the economic and political activities have argued that the biology of sex determines that women are limited to the home and childbearing and must play a subordinate role in the economy and in public affairs. Such societies are shrinking in their numbers and finding little or no support for their arcane beliefs. On the other side of the divide is the argument that, since the biology of sex has been constant throughout it cannot be used to explain the status of women in societies. The general consensus favors this argument.
“To correct the gender imbalance and to reverse the marginalization of women, it is necessary for the world, particularly the government of Liberia to ensure that women, particularly traditional women are not treated as personal properties and house-keepers whose primary duty should be child bearing, but to start looking at women as future leaders and give them responsibilities in society that befit their status and qualification, relative to their male counterparts. Furthermore, women voices need to be heard and included into policy making for economic and political governance of the state. Unfortunately, not all women have equal access to avenues that make this possible. It is therefore incumbent on all women leaders who are heading this noble struggle for gender equity by 2030 to be impartial and stand for the general rights of all women regardless of class, political connection or religion.
“The move for gender balance in a society should not be limited to addressing the plight of women because there are some men who are disadvantaged as a result of societal imbalance and as such it is equally important to include those men into programs that call for equal participation of gender. As the world moves towards reducing gender inequality, there is a need that mechanism be put in place to meet the needs of all disadvantaged men and women in every sector of society.”