Using the power of leadership, women can challenge the structural hurdles that leave them vulnerable to gender-based violence. While all forms of violence against women and girls have intensified since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, together, women can “break the bias” and usher in a new era of justice and accountability.
Writing in an op-ed published recently in Project Syndicate, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Lilian Best—Head of The Financial Market Development Section of the Central Bank of Liberia—brought attention to the remarkable achievements of women in Liberia and around the world in their response to the pandemic:
“Liberian women broke protocols and traditions to save lives, bridging the gaps between time-honored systems and the needs of the moment.”
While women leaders successfully led the charge against the pandemic, “outstripping their male counterparts with effective public-health policies,” they have also directed more attention to the scourge of gender-based violence, argued Madam Sirleaf and Ms. Best.
As the “post-pandemic road ahead is long,” women’s perseverance and strategic leadership acumen will be crucial, they added. These qualities will enable them to create the resources needed to help break the cycle of violence:
“We must harness the indirect, outsize force that politically and economically empowered women can bring to bear against violence. We must crowd legislatures and government offices with women, creating a critical mass that can shift the paradigm on justice, peace, security, and health.”
Madam Sirleaf and Ms. Best concluded with a plea encouraging women to “break the bias” and embark on their leadership journey:
“If you are a woman reading this, we challenge you to consider pursuing a public leadership role, starting in your own community. We dare you, and we believe in you. The world is yours to win.”
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