By Bill W. Cooper
Medica-Liberia Executive Director Yah Vailah Parwon has alarmed over the under-representation of women in environments of decision making across the country.
Madam Parwon who sees the under-representation of women as a serious concern pointed out that there are still gender differences in environment-related adaptation and mitigation strategies across decision making institutions in Liberia.
“There is still a tokenistic approach to mainstreaming gender which does not challenge the structures that continue to reinforce gender inequalities and that fact is still glaring across all sectors of governance in Liberia today,” she said.
Madam Parwon made the assertion yesterday when she served as one of the panelists during the grand final dialogue of the Stockholm+50 National Consultations in Liberia under the theme: “A Healthy Planet for the Prosperity of All” at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.
Deliberating on the theme; “Achieving a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the coronavirus pandemic,” medica’s Executive Director further indicated that the need to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment in the environment especially as policy, programming and priority issues for national and global development cannot be overemphasized.
According to her, the environment benefits and affect men, women, boys and girls differently and indicated that, due to the climate change, women in Liberia are challenged by reduced economic activities as well as increment in work-loads.
“So, this leads them to poor health conditions and early death as well as food insecurity, linkages of climate impact to maternal mortality and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Liberia,” she added.
Madam Parwon named the insertions of the environment, poverty, and development as gender issue, hence “The first step to achieving a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the coronavirus disease is recognizing gender and the deferential impacts of the pandemic on men, women, boys and girls as crucial for socio-economic recovery,” she alarmed.
Meanwhile, Madam Parwon has recommended that in order to achieve a sustainable and inclusive recovery from COVID-19 in the context of environment and its linkages to socio-economic growth, there is a need for an increased women’s representation in environmental decision-making institutions in the country.
She also recommended that national government invests in research and gender analysis because it is imperative to understand the consequences of environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity and climate change on women, men, boys and girls.
“Policies and programs must also avoid politicizing the role of women and the environment without providing proper and substantive resources or capacity to succeed as well as ensure that environment adaptation and mitigation adequately mainstream gender differences,” the medica boss noted.
She further stated, “The government must invest in building expertise at the national level on gender and environment, as well as ensure all coronavirus recovery plans across all development sectors mainstream gender.”
“They should also address the situation of violence against women that are exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic including the linkages between SGBV, the environment as well as climate change,” Madam Parwon averred.
In remark, the president of the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL), Siatta Scott-Johnson used the dialogue to outline the important role of the Liberian media in leading any change effort.
According to her, it is no secret that the Liberian media is challenged when it comes to reporting on issues and climate change is no exception. She named some of the challenges to include human resource and institutional capacity building.
She added that in as much as climate change remains the biggest single health threat facing humanity, the media is also very important in the area of disseminating information about such danger and threats posed by climate change.
Scott-Johnson said there is a need for donors to prioritize and support media institution and the work they do in order to get a win-win result in dealing with the effects of climate change.
Earlier, the Episcopal Church of Liberia Bishop, Dr. James Bombo Sellee, vowed to use his pulpit and ensure that the church plays a major role in the fight against climate as well as the preservation of the climate for all.
At Stockholm +50 Grand Final Nat’l Dialogue: Medica Boss Speaks On Women’s Under-Representation In Environment
By Bill W. Cooper