Clar Weah, wife of Liberian President, urges actions to end gender-based violence

George Weah
Liberian President George Weah and his wife Clar Weah pose as they arrive for a lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace on February 21, 2018 in Paris, France. Weah is on two days official visit in France. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

Wife of President George Weah of Liberia, Mrs Clar Weah, has urged long-lasting and meaningful solutions with actions to end all forms of violence against women and ensure their empowerment across all sectors.

Weah made the call on Tuesday at the opening of the ECOWAS Parliament delocalize meeting in Monrovia, Liberia with the theme “Empowerment of Women in the ECOWAS region.”

According to Weah, in spite of the much-improved awareness of women’s worth in society, a lot of work remains undone to ensure women across the ECOWAS region are given the proper recognition.

She,  however,  noted that now was the time when collective efforts needed to be taken to find lasting solutions to issues that affected all women and not just women in politics or business but all women in the region.

“The theme of Empowerment of Women in the ECOWAS region, speaks of coming together to agree on a common approach.

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“For ensuring that no girl or woman in our region feels abandoned or deprived of any opportunity by virtue of her gender.

“There are so many issues that require our attention and to which our focus must be clear, determined and dedicated and to which we must collectively begin to find lasting and meaningful solutions.

“The issues such as Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)  harmful practices, female genital mutilation, child marriages and teenage pregnancy remain high across the region, while access to reproductive health is low.

“Sadly, it must be said that even where there has been progress in peace-building and security across the Member States over the last decade, this has not been translated into actions to end violence against women and girls,” Weah said.

Weah,  however, noted that in Liberia, the George Weah led government had made commitments through several policies in tackling rape and other forms of violence toward women and girls.

She,  however,  urged participants at the Joint Committee meeting to engage in the meeting with all seriousness in ensuring issues were properly debated upon and come up with salient recommendations

Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament Sidie Tunis said that ECOWAS on its part had made a  clear commitment to prioritise gender equality and women’s empowerment in its framework of the regional integration process.

Tunis said that had become urgent to move from words to actions, stating that the ECOWAS Parliament had also shown several commitments to ensuring women empowerment in the ECOWAS region.

“At the just concluded 2021 1st Extra-Ordinary Session held in Freetown, Sierra Leone, from  March 29  to  April 2,  the ECOWAS Parliament considered and adopted its Strategic Plan for the fifth legislature.

“This plan identified the enhancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment as a major strategic are under the parliament’s participation programme.

“This, if pursued vigorously, will make the ECOWAS Parliament gender-responsive and I pledge to do my best to ensure the achievement of that feat within the period of my mandate.

All these reflect a political will clearly affirm by all on the need to improve the status of women in our States and to ensure equal opportunity for women and men,” she said.

According to her, it is, however, clear that there is still a range of institutional, economic, and socio-cultural barriers to women’s empowerment.

“Politically, women are still not involved in all the decisions that affect the future at all levels: local, national and regional.

“This is simply because they are not significantly present in all the elected bodies and assemblies where these decisions are made.

“Socially, women’s fundamental rights are still being overlooked. In many of our countries, women are still unable to exercise their freedom.

“Including the right to live without the fear of violence, the right to education, the right to family planning, the right to own land and the right to choose their destiny,” Tunis said.

Tunis,  however, urged collective efforts to implement already existing laws to ensure the empowerment of women in the region.