The President of the Republic, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, has recommitted his government to continuing to enable Liberian women to realize their individual and collective potential.
Dr. Weah said his government has made tremendous effort working with partners towards creating the enabling condition that enhances women empowerment and participation in politics and other national and international endeavors.
Addressing this year’s International Women’s Day Celebration on Friday, March 3, 2023 at the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (EJS) Ministerial Complex, the President assured women that his government would continue to work closely with all partners and stakeholders in ensuring that women are empowered by “Innovating with Technology to Promote Gender Equality”.
This year’s International Women’s Day is celebrated under the global and national themes, “DigitALL: Innovation & Technology for Gender Equality and Innovating with Technology to Promote Gender Equality”.
“We will enhance our strategic partnerships with the private sector, with support from all stakeholders and donors, including the United Nations, European Union, World Bank, and Sweden, to ensure that the needed financial resources are available to support this objective,” the President told dozens of participants at the Women’s Day program.
He underscored achievements his government has already made in bridging the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities.
“For example, we now have a Call Center for the reporting of SGBV cases, as well as for maternal health issues and child protection issues,” he pointed out.
“As a government, we are now using the technology of mobile money to make electronic payments of daily sustenance allowances,” the Chief Executive continued. “The Liberia Social Safety Nets Programs also utilize the mobile money platform to ensure that vulnerable households, particularly female-headed households, receive cash grant payments.”
According to him, the government is also leveraging digital inclusion for the economic empowerment of rural women entrepreneurs and smallholders by giving them improved access to markets, as well as training and other commercial opportunities, through the use of digital platforms.
“In terms of disaster risk reduction, we continue to improve women’s access to risk transfer and finance by enhancing digital mobile-enabled disaster alerts, such as weather forecasts and climate-smart agricultural advisories on digital platforms,” he continued.
President Weah opined that women’s participation in the political process is of paramount importance to the growth and development of Liberia. He encouraged more women to register and vote, and to contest for public office.
Considering the transition in the voter registration processes from manual registration to a digital registration system, using biometrics, the President said the government intends to exert its best efforts to ensure that women across Liberia understand the new digital voter registration process and are registered within the allotted time-frame.
He said, “As Feminist-In-Chief of this nation, the protection and empowerment of women, girls and children, those segments of our population who are considered the most vulnerable, remains key on my agenda.”
President Weah emphasized that women are dearest to his heart, saying that he remains resolute in his commitment to mobilize the needed resources to protect and empower them.
According to him, government will continue to provide support for the safety of women from all forms of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, particularly rape.
“We remain firm that no perpetrator of any form of sexual or gender-based violence will go free,” he noted. “If found guilty, you will face the full force of the law, which will be applied without fear or favor.”
“We will continue to enhance capacity-building for vulnerable groups, including women and adolescent girls, to include training in business development skills as well as literacy and numeracy training,” he continued.
The President thanked the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, as well as the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, for securing US$44.6 million through the World Bank for the Liberia Women Empowerment Project.
He said the project will provide women and girls with grants to enable them to start new businesses or expand their existing businesses across various sectors of the economy, providing them with the relevant training and mentoring so that they are successful in such business ventures.
Additionally, he said the project will cover women’s access to land, credit facilities and tools for agricultural development.
President Weah reflected on his late grandmother’s role in his life, saying that she left an indelible impression upon him, and the strength that is intrinsic and inherent in the women of Liberia.
He reflected, “She nurtured me, she fed me, and she took care of me. Our mothers and women of Liberia, we thank you all for your guidance and mentorship. Because of you, some of us were where we were yesterday; today, we are where we are simply because of you; in the future, we will be where we will be because of you – because of your love, your care, your support, your advice, and your commitment to a better Liberia.”
He wished Liberian women God’s protection and guidance in whatever they want to do that will bring glory and honor to God’s name.
The President declared the month of March as “Liberian Women’s Month” because Liberian women are special. He said they deserve more, they are powerful and resilient.
International Women’s Day has been set aside annually to celebrate women’s accomplishments; to recognize their rights and power of women; to give women the prominence they deserve; to honor their voices that go unheard, their tears that go unnoticed, and their rights that are mostly dominated by their male counterparts.