By Esau J. Farr
The three days International Women Forum, SHEROES is expected to climax in Monrovia today.
The All Women Conference started on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at the Monrovia City Hall with a call for women, the world over to be given greater opportunities in all political and leadership spheres of the world.
The main host of the SHEROES Liberia Women Forum, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor at the start of the forum described the event as a one with a “bitter sweet flavor.”
Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor said the forum was a kind of program that has two unforgettable flavors; “bitter and sweet.”
According to her, the event was sweet in that she along with other women in Liberia and from the Continent of Africa was happy to host the forum sending a message to the world that women too have part to play in the development of the globe, but their hearts were heavy that despite awareness and protocols mixed with politics for increase in women’s representation globally, there was still low representation of women on the continent of Africa and worldwide in almost all spheres of life.
“I count it a rare privilege to have been given the task of host of the international Sheroes Liberian Forum. But I must firstly give all glory and praise to our God for His divine favor and grace upon everyone here today; and then to me and my children. For indeed, I can clearly say that the success of this program can be credited to him alone,” Madam Taylor stressed in an introductory remark on Wednesday.
“I am deeply honored by the presence here today of all of our friends and colleagues both from Liberia and the Diaspora. Truly indeed Liberia keeps rising to new heights. Permit me to take this time, on behalf of the Women of Liberia, to say a very special thank you to each of you, who upon our call found a way to be here. We are ever grateful and pray that the Almighty God will bless your endeavors as he has blessed Liberia. Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen; As we converge here this historic day, our hearts have a bitter sweet flavor. On the one hand, we are very happy for an opportunity to meet again in one place; and on the other hand we are saddened and burdened by the very low representation of women the world over, and Africa in particular. Though our Lone Star Nation has been the first in many areas, such as sending the first female President to the United Nations General Assembly, in the person of the late Mrs. Angie Brooks Randolph; the first African Nation to have democratically elected the first female President in Africa, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; and the first Nation to elect the World’s best Footballer as President, a record not yet broken, we must state that on the eve of this historic FORUM, the number of female Representation across our Continent is low for many reasons. And so, the conference Theme: Advancing Women’s Participation In Leadership is very timely,” she pointed.
She admonished her colleagues that as they gathered in Liberia, the homeland of her to discuss issues of concern to all of them, she reminded them that Women must not shy away from the challenges they will face, but that they must be bold and fearless as they together tackle issues of dwindling representation.
The Liberian Vice President named the issues as the lack of resources and opportunities, sexual and gender-based violence, high maternal mortality rates, and the lack of coordination, collaboration and cooperation amongst women.
“We must take cognizance of the fact that we live in a world wherein our hopes and aspirations are intertwined, and so the only way we can achieve our collective goals is to work together in unison. we must remove our eyes from the impossibilities and the things that so easily tear us apart and run the race knowing that we succeed or fail together,” she showed the way forward.
The Liberia Vice President used the occasion and showed gratitude and showered praises on President George M. Weah who later declared himself as a Feminist-In-Chief, for granting them (women) the chance to host the event in Liberia.
“Before I take my seat, permit me to express our deepest appreciation to the following persons: To our Beloved President, Dr. George Manneh Weah for granting SHEROES International and The women affiliated with this movement this unique opportunity to gather in this city; I thank you, your excellency, for your fullest support,” she showed gratitude.
Some of the top personalities who graced the occasion include, special Guest, His Excellency Professor YEMI Osinbajo, Vice-president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mama Joyce Banda, Former Malawian President, Anna Rawlings, former First Lady of Ghana and Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former Liberian President amongst others.
Madam Taylor pointed out that they as women were excited beyond measure to be able to have the three top women named above under one roof referring to them as their inspiration saying, it is their prayers that God will grant each of them long life as they continue to trail-blaze and show other women the steps necessary for success.
“To our Sisters Binta and Maureen, who have just won their primaries, we thank you for coming during this critical period. May God grant you victory in your quests,” she wished her colleagues well.