Traditional practitioners from Grand Cape Mount County, in western Liberia welcome the UN Women Spotlight team during a field visit
Traditional practitioners from Grand Cape Mount County, in western Liberia welcome the UN Women Spotlight team during a field visit. Photo credit - UN Women Liberia/ Gloriah Ganyani

Liberia is located in West Africa bordered by Sierra Leone to the west, Guinea to the north, Côte d'Ivoire to the east and the Atlantic Ocean on the south.  The country has a population of approximately 5.3 million people.[1] Women account for approximately 49 percent of the population.

Liberia lies on a total area of 111,370 square km and the country is divided into 15 administrative counties, which in turn, are subdivided into a total of 90 districts and further subdivided into clans. Montserrado is the most populous county with 1,144,806 million residents as of the 2008 census. The country's capital and largest city is Monrovia.

The country has vast tropical rain forest vegetation and an equal number of rainy and dry months. English is the official language, but over 20 indigenous languages are spoken, reflecting the country's ethnic and cultural diversity.

Liberia suffered a 14-year civil war that devastated the country’s entire physical and organizational infrastructure. Commercial and productive activities ceased, communities were uprooted, and families separated. The social, political, and traditional governance systems were destroyed, and the economy completely collapsed. The country is now on its path to recovery and has transitioned from conflict to peace. However, some challenges still remain.

His Excellency, Dr George Manneh Weah is the President of Liberia since 2018. He took over from Her Excellency, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa’s first female president, who led the country from 2005 to 2017. Under the leadership of President George Weah, the Government of Liberia has enacted several commitments to diminish unacceptable inequalities between women and men in Liberia. Despite the efforts of the Government of Liberia to promote gender equality and empowerment of women, gender disparities persist at all levels, and deeply entrenched attitudes continue to reinforce the lack of opportunities and marginalization of women in public and private spheres, hindering their possibilities to attain a dignified life.

Entrenched traditional norms, cultural practices, institutional frameworks and limited education of women have hindered gender equality in Liberia. There have been several attempts by the Government, civil society organizations (CSOs) and development partners to mitigate these inequities.

UN Women in Liberia

UN Women has worked strategically in Liberia since 2004. The organization works closely with the Government of Liberia through several line ministries that include the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP); the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP); the Ministry of Justice; Ministry of National Defence; Ministry of Internal Affairs; Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Information; Ministry of Commerce and Industry; Ministry of  Labour and key government agencies as well as development partners, civil society organizations (CSOs), women’s groups and other UN agencies, to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE). The work of the UN Women Liberia Country Office is built around five key pillars, which address the most pressing gender equality concerns for women and girls in Liberia. These are women’s political participation and leadership (WPPL); women’s economic empowerment (WEE); women, peace and security and humanitarian actions (WPS); ending violence against women and girls (EVAWG); and gender-responsive planning, policy and budgeting (GRPB). Through these pillars, UN Women plays a leading role in facilitating change.

UN Women Liberia has worked with partners to record some gains in promoting gender equality and empowerment of women in Liberia.

Ongoing Programmes include: