SPECIAL REMARKS BY  HIS EXCELLENCY DR. GEORGE MANNEH WEAH PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA AT THE OFFICIAL PROGRAM MARKING THE OBSERVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021 MINISTERIAL COMPLEX TUBMAN BOULEVARD, CONGO TOWN MONROVIA, LIBERIA

SPECIAL REMARKS BY  HIS EXCELLENCY DR. GEORGE MANNEH WEAH PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA AT THE OFFICIAL PROGRAM MARKING THE OBSERVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021 MINISTERIAL COMPLEX TUBMAN BOULEVARD, CONGO TOWN MONROVIA, LIBERIA SPECIAL REMARKS BY  HIS EXCELLENCY DR. GEORGE MANNEH WEAH PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA AT THE OFFICIAL PROGRAM MARKING THE OBSERVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021 MINISTERIAL COMPLEX TUBMAN BOULEVARD, CONGO TOWN MONROVIA, LIBERIA
SPECIAL REMARKS BY 
HIS EXCELLENCY DR. GEORGE MANNEH WEAH PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA AT THE OFFICIAL PROGRAM
MARKING THE OBSERVANCE OF
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021
MINISTERIAL COMPLEX
TUBMAN BOULEVARD, CONGO TOWN
MONROVIA, LIBERIA
 
8 MARCH 2021
 
Madam Clar Marie Decontee Weah, First Lady of the Republic of Liberia;
Madam Jewel Howard Taylor, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia;
Members of the Fifty-Fourth Legislature here Present;
The Dean and Members of the Cabinet;
The Doyen and Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Other Officials of Government here present; Our International Partners;
The United Nations Resident Coordinator; Members of the Fourth Estate; 
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:
 
Let me borrow from Piso; she said and I quote: “Women are brave, intelligent, adorable, fantastic, spiritual and majestic.” But I just want to add another one, fabulous.
 
I am pleased and honored to be here today to join the rest of the World in the observation of International Women’s Day 2021, which I am informed has been organized in Liberia under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, and in collaboration with the Office of the First Lady of Liberia, Ambassador Clar Marie Decontee Weah, as well as our International Partners and the Women of Liberia.
 
As we are aware, International Women's Day is an annual event held on March 8 to celebrate women's accomplishments, recognize the rights and power of women and give them the prominence they deserve across nations.  This day also gives us the opportunity to celebrate women who have made history and who continue to be champions of change and inspiration for future generations.
 
This year, it is being observed under the Global Theme: "WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 World", and under the National Theme: "WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP: Breaking Down Barriers in the Dispensation of a COVID-19 World". 
 
DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
 
As a country, we remain thankful and appreciative to our women for their resilience and commitment in their various tasks and duties as leaders, in both public and private spaces, and even in their homes.
As a Government, we acknowledge that women continue to need empowerment, and that we have a responsibility to institute and implement all measures and policies that will promote such empowerment, and at the same time ensure the safety of our women, girls and children, who are mostly marginalized.
 
As Feminist-in-Chief of Liberia, I will continue to exert all efforts to directly address the challenges faced by the women of Liberia.  As G. D. Anderson, the Australian activist has said, and I quote: “Feminism isn't about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It's about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” UNQUOTE
 
DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
 
In a time of pandemic in any given society, women and children who are more vulnerable tend to face multiple crises, and Liberia is no exception.  In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, women and girls in Liberia experienced unprecedented increases in violence, ranging from sexual violence, domestic violence and other harmful practices.
 
During the imposition of health and safety measures by the Health authorities to try and contain the virus, such as lockdowns and closure of schools, the family home, which we assume should be safe, was no longer a safe place for women and children, as they were locked down with their perpetrators. It became an epidemic within the pandemic.  
 
This higher incidence of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence was intolerable and unacceptable to my Government, and under the leadership of our Minister of Health, and Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, both females, together with other key cabinet Ministers, meetings were held last year to find a more robust and effective way of tackling this menace.
 
As you may recall, I then established an Anti-Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Task Force and hosted a conference on sexual and gender-based violence, aimed at highlighting the National Road Map on rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence.
 
The work of the Task Force led to the development of the “Government of Liberia and Partners’ Anti-sexual and Gender-based Violence Roadmap 2020-2022”.  The Road Map was subsequently endorsed by the Cabinet, and implementation is currently ongoing.
 
DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
 
It was determined that one of the measures to tackle the scourge of rape was the acquisition of a DNA testing machine. This was because the lack of a definite way to establish proof of the crime of rape allowed a lot of perpetrators to go free.  Hence, under my declaration of rape as a National Emergency, the Minister of Finance was mandated to provide funding for the immediate purchase of a DNA machine.
 
Today, I am happy to announce that a DNA testing machine is now in Liberia. This is a great step forward in bringing relief and justice to survivors of sexual and gender based violence, as well as to the alleged perpetrators. 
 
For many years, criminal investigations in Liberia on sexual and gender-based violence have relied solely on victims’ complaints and medical examinations, leaving cases to be determined and adjudicated based only on circumstantial evidence.
 
Today, however, we begin our journey to revolutionize rape investigations.  This technology will have a positive impact on the way rape cases are investigated in Liberia.
 
In the meantime, I want to encourage our medical practitioners to handle this equipment with care, in order to provide the intended and requisite services to the people of Liberia, particularly to our women, girls and children.
 
DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
 
My Government would like to express our gratitude to all of our NGO’s and International Partners for the support they have provided in assisting us with the promotion of women’s rights and empowerment, and the protection of our vulnerable women, girls, and children.  
 
We believe that all women are equally important and deserve equal opportunities.  Without women, the world will never be what it is today.  Continue to be united and strong.
 
As former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said, and I quote: “If you want something said, ask a man.  If you want something done, ask a woman.” UNQUOTE
 
Long live the Women of Liberia, and long live the Women of the World!!
 
Happy International Women’s Day to all!
 
Thank you and God bless Liberia!

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