By: Stephen G. Fellajuah
The Vice President, Mrs. Jewel Howard-Taylor has lauded and honored the outgoing Swedish Ambassador to Liberia, Madam Ingrid Wetterqvist for her immeasurable work that has impacted the lives of Liberian women during her tenure in the country.
Welcoming participants at the ceremony held at her residence on Thursday, April 8, 2021, at which time the top Swedish envoy was gowned with a special typically Liberian made fabric, Vice President said the Swedish government has done a lot of tremendous work through the office of the outgoing Ambassador especially in the areas of identifying with projects that addressed women related issues which have profound impacts on women empowerment and advancement as well as her support towards propagating the course of gender equality in Liberia.
“We gather to say thank you to a very special person to everyone who has been invited. I believe in one way or the other, her work has impacted our lives. Amb. Ingrid Wetterqvist has impacted many processes of our lives. As Ambassador Wetterqvist winds down her tenure, I didn’t want her to leave without getting the chance to be told how important she has been to the process and how grateful we are”, the Vice President said.
The program which was well attended by prominent women drawn from various backgrounds especially in the forefront for women emancipation and other traditional women afforded some of them the opportunity to express their gratitude to the Ambassador Wetterqvist for her support to the cause of women in the country. The Political of the Movement for One Liberia, Macdella Cooper said Ambassador Wetterqvist served beyond protocol to ensure that her work supported every Liberian women in every aspects, adding that as the Ambassador leaves, the women of Liberia stand at a major cross road at 9 percent which was far below the threshold reaching the affirmative right, She said even at that, the women are now thinking about surpassing the targeted 30% to 50%.
Madam Sara Below-Yanti, UN Coordinator in Nepal, arguably the highest ranking Liberian in the UN system said Ambassador Wetterqvist understands not only the agenda of women but also in the context of Liberia which made her work to suit the country.
For her part, Gbarpolu Senator Madame Botoe Kanneh, who was just elected the second female senator in a male dominated national legislature while highlighting the contributions of Ambassador Wetterqvist and thanking her as such, used the ceremony also to thank the women of Liberia for their hard work and support for the cause of women participation in the governance process in the country especially during her protracted and tedious legal battle to get her election validated. She described the envoy as a mother to Liberia and urged her to continue to support the cause of Liberian women in whatever capacity she may find herself after her tenure in Liberia.
In her response, Ambassador Ingrid Wetterqvist thanked the Vice President for the initiative and said her presence in Liberia was to work and make a difference. She pointed out that the most sacrificing impact is to allow women to start taking the lead in leadership.
“Women from different backgrounds are talking more. It is a kind of affirmation that has been given, and I have seen that from the Special Senatorial Election, that you are also coming together in spite of the many differences”, she said.
Noting the contending challenges, Amb. Wetterqvist said generally in society women have the right to disagree with one another. She said the demand placed on women when in the minority of influence in society they have to always hold tight together to achieve.
She said it pays off for men in Liberia to give the space to women to step forward and start voicing their concerns, not only in the traditional area of raising children, but also in other areas where the resources are going, making sure that they have representation.
“When you are represented, you make decisions, voice your concerns and set your priorities, and when you get the resources, make sure that the right things are manifested. It has been great four years, thank you for allowing me to keep talking about the feminist foreign policy and for honoring me in this beautiful way,” she said
The ceremony was attended by scores of prominent and traditional women, including the head of Coalition for Women NGO Secretariat, Julia Duncan Cassell, Standard bearer of the Movement for One Liberia, Macdella Copper, UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal, Sara Below-Yanti, Rep. Moima Briggs Mensah, Senator Botoe Kanneh, Queen Juli Endee amongst others.