By: R. Joyclyn Wea
MONROVIA-A Gender Policy and five years Action Plan for the Liberian Ministry of National Defense and the Armed Forces of Liberia has been launched.
The launch of the Department of Gender and Social inclusion and the Gender Policy and five-year action plan (2021-2025) at the Ministry of National Defense and the Armed Forces of Liberia was supported by the United Nations Women and Medical Liberia.
UN Women is the UN Organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.
UN Women supports UN member states as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls worldwide.
Remarking over the weekend at the launch of the policy held at a local hotel in Sinkor, UN Women Acting Country Director, Ghoma Karloweah wants the Ministry of National Defense and Armed Forces by extension, to consider female recruitment, retention and promotion at all levels of the two institutions.
Madam Karloweah cautions the AFL to give themselves a target even if it will mean going at the county level to get females on board as the UN Women is willing to support such an initiative.
“Promotion is up to you so we can only advocate for more women to be promoted; as we see today, the women are performing in Mali.”
The UN Representative wants partners to also consider funding such a document because it is not a document, but one with a plan, noting that the UN Women will continue to be the voice of reasoning.
Alex Dixson is the National Fire Service of Liberia chief; he is concerned about the implementation of the policy.
According to Dixson, it is important that we craft documents, but the implementation of these documents is a problem they are faced with in Liberia.
The Fire Service Director disclosed that Fire Services only partner is UN Women explaining that following UNMIL’s drawdown, the National Fire Service was left out of all activities of UNMIL, but UN Women went to their aid and helped the Fire Service to craft their gender policy.
Gender equality is critical to maximizing the effectiveness of the ALF and the Ministry of National Defense, Lieutenant/Colonel Michael Clark, Marwe Attaché US Embassy in Liberia.
Clark says the U.S. Embassy is poised to be a part of the gender policy launched with the hope to see proper implementation of the policy document.
In his keynote address, Sweden Ambassador Urban Sjostrom says the discussion makes a difference not just for Liberia, but internationally sets the stage.
Sjostrom further noted that the document is a journey to have sustained peace in Liberia which is why the discussion is so important.
He recommends that when the budget is being legislated, the government should ensure that men and women benefit, noting that what you do for Liberia is also for the rest of the region.
“150 years ago, Swedish was one of the poorest countries, but we argue that we increase women in education and other key areas of our national decision making body that have transformed our lives which are why we have a feminist government, so we are not just so far from Liberia.”
Edwina Car, Director of the Gender Division at MOD says, moving forward, the Department of Gender and Social Inclusion anticipates more gender-related pieces of training and support especially to form part of the second phase of GOL’s gender-responsive budgeting project.
According to Car, over the last two years, approximately 40 personnel of the Ministry of National Defense and the Armed Forces of Liberia have locally benefited from various gender-related pieces of training with supports from UN Women, UNDP, through Medica Liberia in the areas of women peace and security, women in leadership, gender concepts and mainstreaming among others.