…As Minister of Gender hails partners for the support

By: Leila B. Gbati

The Country Gender Equality Profile (CGEP) was launched in Liberia by the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, in collaboration with partners.

For the first time in Liberia, the country’s Gender Equality Profile (CGEP) has been released. The CGEP highlights many challenges that affect women, men, and boys, and it is meant to assist Liberians in their planning, policy creation, monitoring, and resource mobilization efforts.

The Minister of Gender, Williametta E. Saydee Tarr, made a special remark at the CGEP launch on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, at the Mamba Point Hotel, saying that Liberia has long been a country where disparities between men and women have persisted.

Minister Tarr stated that women are constantly threatened by a variety of inequities, including religious, traditional, and cultural practices, as well as unequal access to education, justice, healthcare, and commercial prospects.

She stressed that Liberia is still a patriarchal society, with the assumption that women must be assigned to specific duties and that men are better suited to govern. As a result, the country continues to see significant gender discrepancies, making it impossible for women to share equally in the benefits of a productive society.

Liberians must modify their thinking and improve their behaviors in order to construct a just and democratic society and promote the current global development plan, which calls for investment in the empowerment of the most vulnerable population, according to her.

“I have always maintained that gender inequality and the marginalization of women and girls in Liberia are perpetuated by socio-cultural norms, values, traditional practices, and perceptions that undermine women’s values and dignity and subject them to poverty, domestic and gender-based violence, early child marriage, and female genital mutilation (FGM),” Minister Tarr stated.

 Speaking further and formally launching the CGEP, the Minister of Gender said that while it is true that Liberia has made recent gains, which include an increment in girls’ enrollment in school, a reduction in the number of cases of sexual and gender-based violence, the appointment of women into key positions in government and the closure of bush schools around the country,

Women and girls continue to face real and unacceptable inequities, she said, adding that “as a nation and people, we must do something to reverse this.” This Country’s Gender Equality Profile, which we are about to release today, was created using the necessary research tools and mechanisms in order to provide timely and effective approaches and redress to Liberia’s current gender equality situation, as measured by both local and international standards. We are grateful to our foreign partners for their assistance in establishing a tool that includes a full gender analysis of Liberia, including the African Development Bank, the Swedish Embassy, the European Union, and the One UN System.

“I would like to highlight the particular efforts of UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, and OCHR in the completion of this work,” the Minister stated, adding, “This is the first of its kind, and we are grateful for the help given.” The Minister expressed gratitude to the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), the Liberia National Civil Society Council, and WONGOSOL for their essential assistance during the period.

Minister Tarr concluded by saying that the CGEP will continue to provide strategic investment direction on methods for the country to empower its people, as well as improve justice, promote peace, identify gaps and issues, and track progress.

She urged all Liberians to use the document as a deciding factor in future economic projections and to improve on innovative ways to make the country more economically viable.

The Technical Assistant to the Minister of Gender, Madam Patricia Togba, gave an overview of the CGEP, explaining that it is a document that highlights various issues that affect women, men, and boys, and that it is intended to guide Liberians in their planning, policy development, monitoring evaluation strategy, and resource mobilization strategy.

Madam Togba stated that the document had sparked a lot of conversation amongst the Ministry of Gender and partners, underlining that data is also a challenge in Liberia and is critical to their planning and interventions when it comes to gender inequality.

She stated that many discussions took place, and the partners agreed to support the development of the CGEP document, for which they established a technical committee comprised of various line ministries led by the Ministry of Gender, as well as partners and the hiring of an international firm to ensure the document’s success.

Mr. Neil Scott, the UN Resident Coordinator, thanked the Ministry of Gender on delivering a good document in his remarks.

Mr. Scott believes the CGEP is a useful tool for bringing people together and achieving more in Liberia’s battle against gender inequality.

Meanwhile, Swedish Ambassador Urban Sjöström complimented the Ministry of Gender on the publication of such a paper, which he called as a “vital instrument” that will be used in the future.

Ambassador Sjöström noted that the Ministry of Gender’s efforts demonstrates Liberia’s commitment to addressing the core causes of gender inequality and bringing the country ahead.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Ambassador, Urban Sjöström, also, in special remarks, congratulated the Ministry of Gender for producing such a document, which he described as a very important tool that will be used while moving forward.

Ambassador Sjöström emphasized that the work being done by the Ministry of Gender really shows Liberia’s commitment to dealing with the root causes and moving the country forward on gender equality.

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