VP Howard-Taylor Keen On Abolition Of FGM – Urges Legislature To Speedily Pass Domestic Violence Bill
Liberia’s Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor is calling collective efforts in ensuring that the human rights of women and girls are protected especially with the abolition of harmful traditional practices or Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Liberia.
VP Taylor made the call at the launch of the She’s You Movement in Monrovia, The Movement is a flagship program of First Lady Clar Marie Weah to empower young women and girls and ensure the protection of women, girls and children from Gender-based violence.
According to Vice President Howard-Taylor, there is a need for the Legislature to pay keen attention to the passage of the Domestic Violence Bill and retain the FGM clause which will protect future generations from the abuse of their human rights.
“It is also very important to eliminate all forms of violence against women especially FGM and I want to add my voice to call on the Legislature that the clause that contains the FGM should not be removed because it is a human right”.
The debate around the passage of the Domestic Violence act has grown interest with some legislators calling for the extraction of the clause that focuses on Female Genital Mutilation as a means of maintaining Liberia’s cultural heritage. It is believed that Liberia’s traditions and norms were tied to the initiation of young women and men in the Sande and Poro society which is considered as a school to prepare young people for their respective homes.
There have been calls around the world to put an end to FGM due to its growing effect on women’s reproductive health and human rights among others.
She added that in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, gender equality is among the basic principles and the respect for human rights which are the key imperatives for overall economic and political progress noting that in most countries women remain underrepresented in governance systems.
VP Taylor called for more and stronger collaboration and collective commitment to tackle critical remaining challenges and address the structural causes of gender inequalities including violence against women and girls, early forced marriage, sexual and reproductive health, and persistent gender disparities among others. “Unless these gender inequalities challenges are addressed, the empowerment of women and girls will be hard to realize and if 50% of the population do not get involved the nation could be deprived of its innovation growth opportunities and contributions of half of its people.”
“As we’ve gathered here this day to make our voice and strengthen our resolve to drive this critical national agenda, we must work to transform discriminatory social norms and gender stereotypes including those that limit women’s roles especially where it get to the point where women are property and be used however,” VP Taylor noted.
She lauded local and international partners including the government of Liberia for tremendous efforts and contributions to ending gender inequalities and the elimination of all forms of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls. “Our women and girls longed for the day when they will not be only considered charter or just girls that they will be able to live in an environment without fear, harassment and of course without violence”.
“The She’s You movement reminds each of us that had it not it been another female, maybe a mother and elder sibling, aunts, a grandmother or just a family friend who stopped and asked us where we were going and showed us the way, we too would have gotten lost, so we need to turn around and provide that same care to the younger generation especially those unable to protect themselves.”
Vice President Howard-Taylor, however, pledged her unflinching support to the First Lady’s Flagship program ‘She’s You’ Movement in order to create a safe space for women and girls in Liberia.