A Liberian Cleric, Apostolic Bishop Kortu Brown of the New Water in the Desert Assembly and President of the Liberia Council of Churches appraised Liberian women burden-bearer, a trust-carrier, a community fighter and the bridge that holds the family together, amongst others, but said the women empowerment drive and advocacy favors women who are already well-positioned in society leaving the ordinary women vulnerable.
The Bishop, Dr. Brown further said the place of the Liberian woman surged when the first woman was elected President of a modern African country, a record he said Liberia made over the rest of Africa as recognized by the world, and noted however that 15 years later, even as it is reflected, the need exists to review the status of the Liberian woman concerning “Where are we with political, economic and social empowerment of the Liberian woman?”
The Liberian prelate said unfortunately, the “empowerment” experiment seems to stall because the focus for women empowerment has largely been about a few women getting political placement preferences such as lawmakers or Cabinet positions or otherwise, which has put a dent in the moral of the Liberian woman.
Rev. Brown recalled that three years ago, there were three female Senators in the Legislature while at present, only the Grand Bassa senator is left. “The Bong County senator [a female] got replaced by a male while the deceased Monsterrado County Senator, Geraldine Doe Sheriff [another female], also got replaced by another male.
Wondering why women are not excited and/or united by the call for the political empowerment of women, the Rev. Dr. Brown said the simple answer is that the focus has not been substantially about the economic empowerment of ordinary women. “It is mostly about a few women getting elected and/or appointed public jobs,” which she deduced is not women’s empowerment.
“If women who are empowered will socio-economically empower ordinary Liberian women, it will be easier to call them out to vote for women candidates when the time comes; I do not think that most Liberian women think that a woman candidate for anything in Liberia serves the general purpose,” the apostolic preacher said.
“Where are the women-led community-based adult literacy programs, economic empowerment programs, socially-oriented programs to address teen pregnancy, rape and other forms of SGBV, networking, amongst others? Where can a young girl go and easy find a scholarship to go to school,” he asked, further inquiring, “Why are the older women organizations getting weaker with no visible or organized efforts to resuscitate and program them to reach out as a network and empower ordinary women who struggle daily to make ends
He then welcomed and commended the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center initiative, but hope however, that it leads a campaign to actually address the plight of the ordinary Liberian woman and not just women already empowered and/or those seeking political offices, preferences, etc.
Bishop Brown saluted Liberian women everywhere for their fortitude and devotion to the sustenance of their families and communities. The ordinary Liberian woman is a burden-bearer, a trust-carrier, a community fighter and the bridge that holds the family together, amongst others.
“Her life and work should be celebrated, struggles should be reflected on and future contemplated on considering this year’s global theme” “I Am a Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights,” the Liberian cleric said.