MONROVIA-As Liberia joined other nations on March 8, 2021 to commemorate the International Women’s Day (IWD), the Organization for Women Empowerment (OWE), a local women group in Paynesville has launched a new women leadership program name ‘women rock the capitol.’
This is gear towards ensuring that more women are empowered and supported to take on leadership at the capitol which is highest decision making area of the country.
The Organization for Women Empowerment is a non-governmental organization that seeks to point out that females too are valuable people and if given equal opportunities they have the potential to help shape the world for a better future thus making them to embrace life and build an honest relationship to a position change in their lives.
OWE is partnering with the Foundation for Women (FFW), Rights and Rice Foundation (RRF), Liberia Reform Movement (LRM) and the National Charcoal Union Of Liberia (NACUL) among others.
Launching the program, Jarsah Varney-Okai, Community Forestry Specialist at the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) said she wants women put aside what she terms as ‘crab mentality’ and hold together if they must rock the Capitol.
Madam Okai is of the strongest certainty that when there is a representation of both women and men at the capitol, decisions that are made will be balanced and cut-across.
She believes the women of Liberia can achieve this when ninety percent of women in the country rally around to vote for their kind [women] saying “We will rock the Capitol with robustness, vision, strength, empowerment and sincerity because if Liberia must move forward people with character need to take on leadership.
The Forestry Specialist pledged her commitment to push the organization’s vision; noting that the impact wrapper has on every woman is what matter with hope that the program will transform the lives of many women and remain vibrant and proactive.
Remarking at the event, Montserrado County electoral district three District Representative Ceebee Barshell cautioned women to take on top positions as they strive for more women representatation the Capitol.
Representative Barshall further stressed the need to foster more women judges and justices at the level of the Liberian judiciary; something he claims is lacking as well as ten million allocations in every budget year toward women empowerment as they gear to rock the capitol in the years to come.
He added “If you want to rock the capitol go for the speaker, the ways and means and the rules and orders positions. Don’t go at the capitol and only sit on the seat because at the capitol, if you there for the speakership, you will be the first female speaker and when you are a female speaker.”
Rep. Barshell continues “And for the ways and means position, you will determine whether women will have proper environment, be represented in the budget, whether women will have opportunity to complete from a small market table to a bigger shop.”
The District three Lawmaker asserted that the country educational system has not been supported by men rather women who sell at the market level and as such; the need to have women empowered cannot be overstated.
Subsequently; three of OWE’s beneficiaries: Cecelia Willie, Watta Laymatt and Oretha Zayzay lauded the organization for transforming their lives through its microloan program.
Giving the overview of OWE, Aretha Togbah said their mission is empowering widows, single mothers and underserved adolescent girls to become who or what they choose without validation from society and ensuring a world where women believe in their abilities, voices and talents to eliminate the prevalent negativity surrounding feminism and girls are allowed to be girls, not brides, and women rights are accepted as human rights, not property law.
Madam Togbah indicated that empowering women is the overall goal of the organization as it is key to saving the world; noting “Eyes once dimmed with fear and frustration becomes bright with a solid promise of eternal hope for a prosperous future.
OWE holds the strongest conviction that empowering oppressed, underserved women and girls is a reasonable cause for re-living the feminist dream, where women too can now become leaders and caregivers of their families.
Over the years, she stated that the organizations were able to provide microloans for 50 women in district number two and three, provide financial aids to 20 adolescent girls who were at high risk of dropping from school, established girls club in five schools and worked with VSLAs groups in Bomi County.
According to the beneficiaries through the program they have been able to stand on their own and sponsor their children in school in addition to owning houses.
They encouraged other women to make use of the opportunity thus enrolling their children to be mode for the journey ahead.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is being celebrated on March 8, every year. The day is symbolic of the historic journey women around the world have taken to better their lives. It comes as a reminder that while a lot has been achieved, the journey is long and a lot more needs to be done.
IWD has been celebrated for over century now. But while many people think of it as a feminist cause, its roots lie in the labour movement. It was first organized in 1911 by the early 20th century Marxist from Germany Clara Zetkin and the date was subsequently change to March 8, and it continues to be celebrated as such every year.