On January 16th, 2008, Liberia ushered in the first female African President. Liberia is the first and only African country to do this. Despite this monumental achievement, Liberia like most West African countries still has a long way to go in protecting its vulnerable women. Women are vital in the building of strong communities. This is true for several reasons.
Motherhood – As women tend to be the ones who raise children, who are inherently the future, they have an unmatched impact on the child’s life, ideals, thoughts, and futures. Communities with more empowered women tend to do better because women are more likely to invest in the (or their) children in that community. This, overall, leads to a stronger and more prosperous community.
Educators – Women are the first educators of children. Education is a pivotal part of strengthening vulnerable communities. If more women are educated, more families are educated which means more informed decisions are taken and vulnerable communities become empowered.
Caretakers – While this is slightly similar to motherhood there are a few differences. Women are caretakers of the community. They take care of the home and the community at large. Without women, it would be difficult to build strong communities as they are often the backbone of strength.
Women in Liberia have only experienced peace for a few decades. After decades of dictatorship, civil war, and economic recession, progress seems to be on the horizon; however, it is a slow one. To speed up the process, which is important because lives are on the line, women in Liberia need to be empowered. Women in Liberia have seen former President Sirleaf as a beacon of hope and inspiration. It is important that the light does not fade away. Women have important roles in building communities. Let’s take a look at 4 of these roles.
Leaders – To build a strong and stable community there must be equal opportunities and equal representation. If one category of people is underrepresented it creates a power imbalance that will manifest when the government begins to pass bills and laws. Female leadership should be encouraged and nurtured at all levels from the local government to the federal government.
Activists – Women as activists help to build a strong and empathetic community which is essential for sustainability. Women as activists will help shed light on issues affecting and other gender-based issues which can affect both men and women.
Participation in Profitable Workforce – Women with financial stability are very important to build strong communities. It is vital to support small scale market women and small scale female entrepreneurs to succeed. It is important that they are inspired and motivated to chase their dreams. Finally, it is important that they are able to chase their dreams and have access to opportunities that can provide benefits.
Women as farmers, as teachers, as market women, and businesswomen who have achieved or working towards financial stability is an integral part of community building. Women in vulnerable communities usually have to work or beg for money but they seldom use this money for themselves. If they’re working they may be working on someone else’s land which means they have little to no access to the crops they harvest and the living wages paid are often well below the poverty line. These social and gender discrepancies must be addressed to achieve our aim of building and having strong communities. In the words of Martin Luther King, “Until we are all free no one is free.”
The Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection is a step in the right direction. However, there are some vulnerable women being overlooked. Join the Ri’ayah foundation as we ensure no one falls through the cracks and no female is left behind. Please donate or volunteer.
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Developing Leaders for a Better Tomorrow
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