UN Women supports the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to host mock parliament sessions in five counties in Liberia.

Stakeholders drawn from 15 Counties in Liberia took part in mock Parliament sessions held in the Liberian counties of Grand Bassa, Margibi, Bomi, Nimba and Grand Gedeh, from 12th to 31st August, 2021.

Date: Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The sessions have counted among their attendees: county leaders, academics, Parliamentarians, Political parties’ leaders, representatives of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and members of the judiciary system, among others.

The mock Parliament sessions were aiming to promote and strengthen collaboration mechanisms and advocacy for an increased women’s political participation, through inclusion with enforcing 30% gender quota in the Liberia election law. This provision will make it mandatory for political parties to adhere to the 30% quota for women.

In addition, the mock sessions provided an opportunity for people at the grassroots level – including women and youth – as well as community leaders to have insights on the need and benefits of having more women in decision making positions, but also the importance to know how bills are debated in Parliament.

“We hope that, by bringing the parliament to the people, communities are provided with a platform to understand how their recommendations for legal reforms are translated into law by their representatives.” Marie Goreth Nizigama, Country Representative - UN Women Liberia.

In Liberia, women make up half of the population, but they are grossly underrepresented in politics, as evidenced by the number of seats that they occupy in the legislature. Currently, there are eight (08) women out of 73 members forming the House of Representatives, while only two (02) women are among the 30 Liberian Senators.

“It also gives them a chance to understand how the law makers prioritize and present their need for a critical mass of women in politics and advocate for inclusion of the enforceable 30 percent gender quota in the elections law.” Marie Goreth Nizigama, Country Representative - UN Women Liberia.

Family picture. Photo credits: UN Women Liberia
Family picture. Photo credits: UN Women Liberia.

However, to increase the number of women in politics and decision-making positions, Liberia has committed to take action to increase women’s political participation and representation by signing and ratifying several international and regional human rights instruments. These include the UN Convention on the Elimination of All forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW), the International Convention on Civil and Political rights (ICCPR), the African Charter on Human and people’s rights (ACHPR), but also the protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights of women in Africa (ACHPR-PW), the African Charter on democracy, elections, and governance (ACDEG), and the Ecowas protocol on democracy and good governance (PDGG), among others.

Despite the commitments made, UN Women is supporting the government of Liberia to bridge the gaps that still exist.

“As the Ministry responsible for the women’s empowerment, we are delighted to partner with the Women’s Legislative Caucus of Liberia, WONGOSOL, the National Elections Commission and women at the grassroots level to bring a spotlight on the importance of empowering women to participate in politics and leadership positions.”, Honourbale Williametta Saydee-Tarr, Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister.

UN Women provided technical support to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and other partners, to host mock Parliament sessions with funding from the Government of Canada.