By Evelyn Kpadeh Seagbeh
A senior UN figure has described as a problem the low representation of women in the Liberian parliament, despite the country having a female president.
UN Women’s director, Hhumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, told a news conference in the capital of Monrovia on Tuesday: “I think it is a problem that we only have 10 percent of women in the upper house and 11 percent in the lower house… What is wrong with this picture? We have to fix this.”
According to UN Women, Liberia is 40th of 54 African countries in terms of female political representation and 113th in the world.
Liberian women have been campaigning for the passage of a Gender Equity Bill, locally called the 30 Percent Quota Bill.
The bill calls that the no gender (male or female) in the legislature should be more than 70 percent or less than 30 percent.
But the bill continues to face serious challenge since its introduction more than three years ago.
Ngcuka did not state how UN Women intends to help Liberia -- under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf -- increase the number of women in the country’s legislature.
Elections are expected in 2017.
Violence against women
Ngcuka also said increased levels of violence against women and girls in the Ebola and post-Ebola periods were unacceptable.
"The gains made in the socio-economic and political areas here are constantly being hampered by the escalating case of sexual and gender-based violence and the prevalence of harmful traditional practices including child marriage and female genital mutilation,” Ngcuka said.
Ngcuka has been in that West African Country since Feb. 25 to access the situations of women and girls in the country.