The Liberian First Lady, Madam Clar Marie Weah has challenged Liberian women and girls to rise up and take on leadership roles in various sectors of society in order to make greater impact and difference in their respective communities and the world at large.
The Liberian First Lady called for more women leaders across Africa and the world stressing that women leadership enhances growth and development, ensures better policy making and problem solving.
“My dearest daughters, sisters and mothers: I challenge you to make the most out of this forum to reach for your life dreams. Rise up to leadership. Do not limit yourselves. You can be anything you want to be!” she said.
The First Lady made the assertions Wednesday in her inspirational address at the official opening ceremonies of the International SHEROES Forum held at the Monrovia City Hall.
The forum, convening for the first time in Liberia, is held under the theme” Advancing Women’s Participation in Leadership,” and it brings together prominent women of Africa and the world.
Referencing the Pew’s 2015 Women and Leadership survey, Mrs. Weah said that in addition to women’s trustworthiness and collaborative style, they also make great mentors.
She praised a number of outstanding women who have risen up to the pinnacles of leadership, including Liberia’s daughters—the late Angie Brooks Randolph, who was the only African female President of the UN General Assembly and the second woman to head the U.N; former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female democratically elected President and Chief Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor, Liberia’s first female Vice President.
The First Lady also commended efforts by the President, Dr. George Manneh Weah, for promoting gender equality through the appointment of more women to key decision-making positions in government as part of the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.
She however indicated that despite the strides made, there was still a lot to be done in reducing gender disparity in leadership.
According to the First Lady, one way to achieve the goal of advancing women’s participation in leadership is for current women leaders to mentor the younger generation of women, sharing their experiences and mentoring.
While thanking organizers of the International Sheroes forum, the Liberian First Lady said activities including knowledge-sharing and networking with renowned female leaders of diverse achievements would inspire young women to take on leadership roles.
“I believe the panel discussions, workshops and motivational talks among others factored in the Sheroes forum in Monrovia will help give our girls and women the courage to ‘dare to lead,’” she asserted.
The First Lady further reaffirmed her commitment to the empowerment of women as a mother and a humanitarian.
According to her, such commitment is demonstrated in the establishment of the Clar Hope Foundation, which is aimed at catering to the well-being of women, the elderly and needy children, including orphans and street kids.
She disclosed that the foundation is working to build “City of Hope”, a community that would provide better health, rehabilitation and quality education and skills to transform Liberian girls to have a brighter future.
The international SHEROES Foundation is a nonprofit organization created to draw women together to connect, educate, inspire and empower one another to assume new and expanded roles in the workforce and communities.
Established in Nigeria in 2013, the foundation endeavors to ensure that 50% of women are represented and involved in the social, political and governmental decision-making process that promotes the growth and development society.