MONROVIA, LIBERIA-The Liberian Media has been termed as a critical and helpful voice in the campaign to promote gender equality, especially during the electioneering processes in the Country.
UN-Women Country Representative in Liberia, Comfort Lamptey, identifies the importance of the Media in ensuring gender inequality gap at local and national levels are closed.
She challenged the Media to play its important role in shifting the public views, and educating the population to embrace the essence of gender equality and women’s rights in Liberia.
According to Madam Lamptey, promoting women rights and gender equality, is one surest way of Liberia deepening its democracy.
According to the UN-Women, despite Liberia producing Africa’s first female president and currently having a female vice president, women are still grossly underrepresented in the legislature.
Women make up less than 11 percent of the 103 seats in the National Legislature. Out of 73 members in the House of Representatives, only nine (9) are women (12.3 percent) while there are only two women among the thirty (30) Senators (7 percent). Additionally, only 5 of 19 cabinet ministers, 24.5 percent of deputy minister positions, and 25.9 percent of assistant ministers are women.
Madam Lamptey made the comments Thursday, March 16, 2023, at the High Level Meeting between women leaders and the Media, under the theme, “the role of Media in promoting responsible reporting during elections.
The meeting was sponsored by the UN-Women, in partnership with Center for Media Studies and Peace-building, CEMESP and other international partners.
Madam Lamptey said:” The meeting was important to highlight the support and protection of the women in political processes and the incredible power the Media has to elevating the debate about the gender equality.”
She, however, challenged the Media to create an enabling environment for every Liberia; men and women to equally participate in the up-coming elections.
According to her, UN-Women want to see women in the elections, because they make huge difference in the democratic processes and in national developments.
Madam Lamptey emphasized the need to ensure fairer Media coverage to women in Politics with discrimination and stereotypes, and encouraged more females to come up and challenge for public position.
For her part, the Deputy UN-Women Country Representative, Ms. Yemi Falayajo, decried the dominance of men in both politics and Media against the invisibility of women. She alleged that, even where there is reasonable number of female candidates in elections, the Media and Public usually neglect them in favor of their male counterparts.
Madam Falayajo said:” Women are often targets of sexism and harassment due to their gender as way of discriminating against and discouraging them from participation in politics.”
She said the lower number of women in the Media has as negative impact on their political success.
The UN-Women Deputy Country Representative encouraged the Media to address the issue of gender discrimination and promote equal participation.
In the same way, Madam Falayajo challenged the Media to promote public awareness and take actions to mitigate gender-based stereotypes and violence against women in politics.