The female Parliamentarians of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) must be a model of political commitment for women in the region. That was the core message delivered by the Vice-President of Liberia, Jewel Howard Taylor, to female Parliamentarians on the sidelines of the First Ordinary session of the Community Parliament on 28 May 2021.
Led by the ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association (ECOFEPA), they listened to Mme Taylor’s words of advice and encouragement for their political endeavour.
Encouragement because it is an uphill struggle for many female politicians to manage their political, professional and family activities. Taking the example of her country, Liberia, Mme Taylor highlighted the gender bias, socio-cultural obstacles and lack of resources which are an obstacle for women in their activism. The quality of their participation in political life should encourage other women to emulate them.
In spite of the progress made, she lamented that the 30% quota of women in national parliaments is still not yet a reality in many countries. She, then, urged the female Parliamentarians of the ECOWAS Parliament to step-up advocacy with a view to achieving this objective. According to her, ECOFEPA should be at the forefront of this noble fight.
The members of ECOFEPA thanked the Vice-President of Liberia for having initiated this meeting and welcomed her leadership for women’s empowerment. Several other members who took the floor pointed out the similarities in the challenges confronting female politicians from one ECOWAS country to the other. Participants promised to increase sensitisation in order to involve other women in political parties in this fight.