Liberia’s Vice President, Chief Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor, is no doubt iconizing the country’s long overdue feminist struggle which left on the home record just a few names that stood up to entrenched gender inequality wrapped in a dominant male-favored culture. Where iconic figures like Angie Brooks-Randolph, Africa’s first female president of the United Nations General Assembly and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first democratically elected president, left the struggle is where the country’s first vice president is taking it. And her engagements are paying off so profoundly as the international world scramble in recognition of our astute role in the feminist struggle, not only in Liberia but also abroad. At the invitation of the WOMEN LEADERS GLOBAL FORUM which ran from November 26 to 29 in the Iceland where a major conference of women leaders was convened, the Liberian vice president was awarded a high international award for her works, and she told the assembly that she would like to be remembered for leaving behind “positive footprints which would qualify one, as one of the great women, in my time.” The Analyst reports.
There are some pundits who think Liberians will hardly miss the country’s first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who lifted the feminist spirit of the country’s long marginalized women and thrust countless females in high political positions. According to them, the current vice president is perfectly filling the void as she not only keeps the feminist flames burning on the home front but also often takes the Liberian case to the outside world.
The multiple recognitions Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor got in line with her advocacy and direct support to the cause of women before her ascendency to the second highest public post in Liberia are now bolstering with endless invitations at home and abroad to hear her out on women issues and the general struggle for equality and protection.
The Liberian Vice President was once again conferred upon an enviable international honor while attending the Women Leaders Forum in Reykjavik, Iceland this week. She received the African Women Leaders Network Award and elevated her to a Member Status of the Board of Directors of the Women Political Leadership Forum, which is set up to advance the rights of women the world over.
While at the Forum, the Vice President met a horde of international dignitaries, including the Vice Prime Minister of Romania, Madam Ana Virchall. They both discussed the possibility for cultural, education, agricultural and economic exchanges.
She also paid a courtesy visit on the former British Consulate, called Höfði, the site of the famous Reykjavík Summit where US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev met in October of 1986. The talks between the two world leaders during Cold War period collapsed at the last minute, but the progress that had been achieved eventually resulted in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union. Eventually the Cold War ended.
In a statement delivered at the Global Women Leaders Summit on Women, Peace and Security held under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, Reykjavik, Iceland, Vice President Taylor told the assembly of women leaders and feminist stakeholders that she would like to leave behind “positive footprints which would qualify one, as one of the great women, in my time.”
As one of the younger women leaders from a post conflict nation, the Vice President said, she could admit to a litany of experiences and lessons learnt from the rugged and often daunting marches through risky circumstances in tortuous efforts to put end to intimidation, harassment, sexual and gender based violence against women, civil hostilities and engender public confidence, build trust, and foster cooperation.
“I am proud that from my neck of the woods are strong women leaders, a few of whom are Her Excellency Angie Brooks-Randolph, who blazed the trail to become the first ever African woman to rise to become President of the United Nations General Assembly, specifically the 24th Session, as far back as nearly half a century ago in 1970,” the boasted for Liberian women’s pioneering role in the world’s feminist struggle. “And, of course, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first democratically elected female President of Liberia, and Africa at large, whose twelve years of leadership secured twelve years of peace in a nation emerging from deep crisis.”
She also bragged that Liberia is the first post-conflict country with a National Action Plan (NAP) to implement Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, which was launched in 2009.
She however acknowledged that Liberia still falls in the category of those in a slow pace of the fulfillment of obligations undertaken by nations to implement national action plans pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 which was passed on October 31, 2000.
“That is why this gathering of Women World Leaders is not only historic but important to this process as we put in place plans to recommit our energies from bare awareness to determined actions,” Vice President Taylor told the Forum delegates, adding: “Please allow me to challenge this gathering, to not only talk about this critical issue, but encourage us to ferret strategies that lay out clear action plans, which will bring forth the full effect of a mass action by all women leaders in a concerted effort to address the gaps in global peace and security as envisaged by the Resolution.”
By so doing, Madam Taylor noted, “we will raise our voices loudly and work in earnest to change the trajectory towards a world of peaceful coexistence.”
She said though Resolution 1325 addresses abuses in conflict environments, women leaders must remain mindful that the battle against inequality, inclusion, harassment, intimidation, marginalization, abuse, sexual and gender-based violence, etc., is still raging in many parts of the world.
“It is especially so in developing nations, thereby making it imperative for us to keep our quest to unleash the potential, provide equality, eliminate abuse and uplift the status of women – as the front and center Pillar of our global collective efforts to ensure peace and security in our one world,” VP Taylor asserted.
She further said: “We cannot say enough times that women constitute half the world’s population. This fact, standing alone, is enough to make it imperative to be given the opportunities to effectively complement the male population in forging policies, implementing plans and working together to better the world. Leaving women at a minimal level of participation in national, regional, continental, and global matters equals robbing those layers of governance the full potential that comes to bear to confront and resolve common problems; thereby making this a human rights issue.”