Gender Minister pushes for Referendum on Women’s Issues

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Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry, Julia Duncan Cassel has called on women organizations in and around the country to continue their efforts in ensuring that their issues reach referendum.


Minister Cassel, speaking at debriefing a women’s meeting at the Ministry, told women that it was time to campaign and ensure that women-related issues are brought before the country for legislation.   
During the recent National Constitution Review Conference, the women of Liberia had their plights presented to be passed and form part of the conference’s final draft to be presented to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Among the issues presented to the national conference, the women said  they wanted to see a constitution that guaranteed equal representation of women and men in all elected and appointed positions in both public or private sectors , and that there must be a fair representation of persons with disabilities.
They presented a five-count proposal, of which four were successfully passed, leaving out the one calling for longtime cohabitation to become married couple.
Among the four counts presented were the equitable gender participation paper, seeking equal representation of both genders occupancy of political position, recognition of marriage by the Constitution and among others, the constitutionalizing of 18 and above as the age of consent.
“Now that  four of the five women issues presented at the Gbarnga CRC National Conference have been adopted by the Constitution Review Commission, there is a need to ensure that they from part of the recommendation to the National Legislature.  The advocacy we have commenced needs to be sustained,” Minister Cassel said.
She added that that their advocacy for the passage of those women’s issues had gone a long way in their efforts to ensure that issues are part of the recommendations to be presented to the National Legislature.
“We have come a long way, bringing on board women issues from various constitution reform gatherings,” she said.

“We must complete what have started. Yes we can, now is the time. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all of us to make it happen as women rights are human rights.”  
Also speaking, the project Coordinator for UN Women, Irine manyi Ako promised her organization’s unwavering support to the women of Liberian.
She said her organization’s support to the women constitution taskforce will continue until they (women) achieve their goal of seeing an inclusive Constitution of the Republic of Liberia.