A top media practitioner in Liberia has added her voice to several other persons to thank all women who turned out in their numbers to cast their votes in the just ended October 10, 2023 elections, noting that their presence at the polls was massive and speaks volume to women’s participation in politics.
She said despite no form of violence was reportedly perpetrated against women during elections, the women mustered the courage to flood various polling centers to have their voice heard through their votes.
The Managing Editor of the Inquirer Newspaper, Winnie Saywah-Jimmy, observed that the 2022 National Housing and Population puts the women population at a little over 50 percent of the total population, which was visible by their huge turnout during the election.
“Can you imagine, women were out as early as 5:00am to secure their spots at various polling places, just to ensure that they cast their vote. I am proud of all the women who came out that day to exercise their civil duty and political franchise,” Madam Jimmy said.
According to Madam Jimmy, women, who make up more than half of Liberia’s population, have always turned out to participate in political processes, but are given less attention by the elected.
“It is disheartening to know that after voting for whoever we elect, they soon forget about the promises they made to us during the campaign. We know that those electoral promises are vain words, so we don’t expect much from them. All we desire is our space, our fair share of the national cake, but our male counterparts think that when we have that, it will be to their disadvantage,” the Inquirer boss observed.
“When you talk to women around town, they will tell you that they came out to vote because they want better education, healthcare, and sanitation for their children. They want a better working condition and security for their husbands, and they want their own space where they are respected for the jobs they do. These are the things that go along with our votes,” Jimmy asserted.
Despite the huge turnout of women at the polls, women representation at the House of Representatives has reduced by eight percent, claiming that the reduction of women representation at the legislature is worrisome and needs to be given due attention in subsequent elections.
“We must not sit and think that the 30 percent inclusion in government will walk to us. We have to work towards it. We have to fight for it. That is why we must sensitize our women to vote for their kind during elections. We must see ourselves in women who are vying for political offices, because as women, they understand our issues,” she noted.
On October 10, 2023, Liberians went to the polls to elect a new corps of national officers, including a president and vice on the same ticket, 15 senators and 73 representatives, out of which eight women were elected to form part of the 55th Legislature.
In the Liberian Senate, Madam Varpilah Dabah of Grand Cape Mount County, will join Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence of Grand Bassa County and Gbotoe Kanneh of Gbarpolu County.
Meanwhile, there are discussions among women organizations to encourage Moima Briggs-Mensah to run for the Speaker position of the House of Representatives so as to keep women issues on the burner of the agendas.
According to the Chairlady of a community-based women group, Women for Democracy and Empowerment (WODE), it is time that women be given the opportunity to serve in the male dominant HOR as Speaker.
“We have stood by and allowed the men to run the show. It is time that we take over. We will fight politically until one of our own gets there,” Madam Hannah Nyemah said.
If elected, Madam Briggs-Mensah will be the first woman to ever serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Madam Briggs is among three women who retained their seats in the just ended October 10, 2023 elections.
Out of nine women who served in the 54th Legislature, six lost their seats.