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Women’s experiences, capacities and views on peace, security and development are still underrepresented within the peace building and democratization processes of Liberia. According the former Liberia’s President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, women’s contribution to achieving sturdy peace is exceptional and incomparable but frequently overlooked. This statement resonates with Resolution 1325, which states that the international community and its member states have a responsibility to incorporate women and their priorities in peace, security and development processes.
Instances of sidelining women in peace building and democratization in Liberia are evidenced in a number of ways. For instance, entrenched discrimination against women operates as an elementary obstacle in this country. In addition, high levels of illiteracy and scarcity of qualifications – because the combined results of restricted instructional opportunities and cultural marginalization are hampering women’s involvement in decision making. Additionally, lack of basic civic exposure among women serves to bolster the standard politics that may be read as “a men’s business”. This deepens the lack of confidence evident among women in native communities to actively participate in conflict resolution. Moreover, women who try to enter the politics of conflict resolution are habitually confronted with intimidation, typically through deprivation of finances that are necessary to run effective campaigns.
Overall, the combined effects of impoverishment, inadequate governance, exclusion and violence within the Republic of Liberia still have a substantial impact on women’s prospects of coming into and collaborating within the peace and conflict resolution domain. What emerges from such a state of affairs is that there is a complicated interaction between the national governance, the local and customary governance structures and other establishments. The customary governance structures, for instance, can operate as associate impediment to effective women’s participation in community-level decision-making. Women are delegated to traditional household roles as caregivers hence living and feeling trapped with no rights and voice to the community. Most of the decision are done by men and thus making the tradition patriarchy in nature.
Despite the strategies that women in Liberia have embraced to support their political visibility such as rallying around a common cause, there are many challenges that they still have to grapple with. As such, the strategies have failed to sail through, creating even more perennial obstacles. Such a failure, for instance, accounts for the unpredictable nature of donor support and also the threat of donor fatigue that tends to inhibit additional long-term and strategic approaches to the work of women’s organizations. Additionally, the tendency of donors to support quick-impact and short-term conflict resolution approaches is seen as unlikely to foster the implementation and sustainability of Resolution 1325.
Lack of accountability in peace building is a notable challenge to resolution 1325. The resolution lacks accountability mechanisms, disciplinary action, or monitoring and evaluative measures. Since the women are ignorant on what to be offered, their rights and how to claim them. This leaves the few educated in conflict resolution which should be every woman’s role.
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