Liberia Parliament Passes Bill to Reserve Seats For Women, Young People And Person With Disability

Liberia’s House of Representatives has passed a bill that allows for parliamentary seats to be reserved for women, young people and persons with disability.

According to the Equal Representation and Participation Bill passed on Thursday, five seats are to be reserved for female politicians, one for youths and one for people with disabilities in the nation’s lower house of parliament, according to the United Nations agency U.N. Women.

Women’s rights activists in Liberia welcomed a new law that gives the country’s minority group – women, youth and people with disability – a voice within a key arm of the governance structure, the legislature.

Liberia has a female president in Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who at the recent United Nations General Assembly in New York, spoke about the need to empower women, girls and other marginalized persons in society.

Despite having first woman freely elected as a head of state in Africa, only one in nine seats in Liberia’s parliament are held by women, according to the World Bank.

The West African nation ranks 40th out of 54 African countries for the number of women in parliament, and 149th out of 191 worldwide.

A challenge comes with the current legialation according to some civil society watchers who contend that male politicians may seek to persuade voters that aspiring female candidates should be chosen only for the seats reserved for women. Read the full story here.