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Liberia: Lack of Support And Training Undercut Women’s Political Participation

Liberia: Lack of Support And Training Undercut Women’s Political Participation


Liberia is a tiny country situated in West Africa with a population of approximately 5.193 million, referencing the country’s 2022 National Population and Housing Census.

The journey for the inclusion of women in politics is long and complex. For instance in 1946, historical accounts showed that there were “three categories of women in Liberia – the settlers who owned property and were thus qualified to vote; poor settler women who did not have property and were excluded from voting; and the indigenous women who, like their male counterparts could not vote until the 1950s.

Despite the role of women in the restoration of peace to Liberia following a decade long civil conflict that ended in 2003, women are not recognized and appreciated locally on the average in Liberia.

The country is largely male-dominated society where men play the lead roles in nearly all sectors of the society, however; a few women have distinguished themselves and are making very meaningful contributions to Liberian society in their respective areas.

One of them is Amb. Daintowon Domah Pay-Bayee a feminist Advocate who doubles as the head of Liberia National Commission on Disabilities.

“Finance has been the challenge so with financial support, we will have more women elected at the Legislature because women started participating in decision making as early as 1948 after the independence of Liberia so it has been a patriotic society because the men own the economy,” she disclosed.

She believes women’s political participation will continue to remain at its lowest ebb unless measures are instituted both locally and internationally to empower women involved with politics.

“Once there is finance you will get security, you will have confidence to challenge your male counterparts who used cash during elections to lure voters,” she said.

Her Experience

In 2015 group under the banner—the Friends of Amb. Daintowon Domah Pay-Bayee was established by citizens of District #13, Montserrado County, later she contested in the United People’s Party (UPP) as Representative Candidate of the district but got defeated by a male.

Despite being one of the smartest and qualified, she went on to lose the elections after several of the voters saw her as being poor and was embarking on a journey to reportedly enrich herself at their expense; a belief she has since refuted.

The major challenge women with or without disabilities facing is finance! Because of poverty, our elections have gotten to a level where voters demand money from you. There are some voters who will tell you to bring a T-shirt if they don’t get it from you they will not vote for you and there are some who will tell you if they cannot see your banner they will not vote for you,” she unveils.

She emphasized that there are about 40,000 registered voters with 20 candidates contesting for the district’s seat, stressing that in order to be successful, you will need to mobilize about 10,000 voters; stressing that getting 10,000 t-shirts at the cost of US$2.50 will be equivalent to US$25,000.

“So getting that money alone is not an easy one but besides that there will be some communities undertaking projects and you will have to support it, some of them will tell you to build my palaver hut, market, hand pumps, children school fees all of those things you will have to do. So it’s quite expensive,” she emphasized. Despite her defeat, Domah Pay-Bayee insists she would contest the 2029 representative and presidential elections.


Making the ultimate sacrifices

Domah Pay-Bayee asserted that despite the unprecedented rise of negative criticisms including cyber bullying against female politicians, she remains hopeful of getting elected during the 2029 elections.

She said there was lots of criticism from supporters of my male counterparts but that didn’t deter her, stressing that those criticisms served as a motivation for her.

“There were lot of things that came from out of my district to include: what is this cripple girl going to do if we elect her?, they said my son had no father and some people said I took out pregnancy that’s why I am disable all of that came on facebook, whereas I became disable at the age of five so all of those things came out for me but it served as strength for me and not weakness so I was able to step above it because of training,” she said in a rather sad mood.


Regrettable Moment 

In a rather sad mood, Madam Domah Pay-Bayee, there were many times she felt discouraged and nearly quitted but looking at the plights of her supporters and dependents, she has continued to hold on.

“There were days and there are still days that sometimes I can look at myself in the mirror and cry but then I can say to myself Daintowon you can’t break down; someone is looking up to you so if you break down, how will they survive?.”

In order to narrow the gap between the male and female; she holds the belief that financial empowerment should not be done in isolation of training for the women.

“The need to train women, especially young people who desire to get into politics, is very essential to increasing women’s inclusion into politics,” she noted.

Meanwhile, Madam Domah Pay-Bayee underscored the need for former President Ellen Johnson-Sireleaf to explain her success story so as to serve as a motivation for women.

“We heard a story about how she was marginalized, discriminated against but she emerged to become a president. Who were those that helped her? Are they destiny helpers that can pick us up and carry us to where we want to go?

Creating a space

“I don’t think women should overly struggle to get public positions. The need for opportunity for women is important. If we can have more women employed in the position that can make them build their economic status, it will be important for the forward match for women inclusion,” she said.

There were few political parties that adhere to women’s participation; there were many who did not as such, there were a lot of women who had the vision to contest but many did not register due to the lack of interest in women’s candidates from some political parties.

She believes the electoral commission should institute measures to ensure full adherence to the 30% gender quota. When asked as to what exactly she considered as the greatest nightmare when it comes to women in politics in Liberia and what measures can be instituted to address those nightmares, she said the lack of financial empowerment and as well as training including the refusal to hold a national forum on the need for women’s inclusion are the greatest nightmare.

For now, she indicates that women’s representation will continue to remain low, unless practical measures are instituted both locally and internationally to change the overall negative perceptions about women’s inclusion.

Looking through her profile  

Amb. Daintowon Domah Pay-Bayee is an advocate, a feminist, a servant, an activist, a human rights defender, an accountant, a youth leader, an administrator, a reconciler, a politician, a musician, God-fearing and was born on August 4th, 1983, unto the union of Mr. Alexander Gounquoi Domah and Madam Mary G. N. Vanmore Marbiah in Tappita, Nimba County; and raised by caring and loving Mr. Y. Mewaseh Pay-Bayee and Mrs. Theresa L. G. Pay-Bayee.

She became disabled at Age 5. During the civil crisis as Liberians ran across Borders for Refuge as Refugees, her Mother took them (Four Sisters) to Danane, La Cote D’Ivoire in 1995 where she completed elementary schooling at the Ganta & Gbarnga United Methodist Elementary School, Danane, La Côte D’Ivoire.


She graduated from the Grace Assembly of God Mission High School, Class of 2002/2003, New Georgia Signboard, Gardnerville, Monrovia, Liberia and upon her graduation, she served the Community through Voluntary Services, and enroll at the University of Liberia in 2006 where she read Accounting and Management with emphasis in Project Management.

In 2011, a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree was conferred on her. With determination to acquire more knowledge to contribute to national development as a productive and potential citizen, she participated in local, national, regional, continental and international trainings before, during and after the university schooling among others.

In recognition of her selfless services to humanity, President George Weah, as Grand Master of the Order of Distinctions, by virtue of his Power admitted her into the Order of Humane Order of African Redemption with the Grade of DAME Official decorating her during Liberians Independence Day Celebration, 2023 July 26th.

“This report was supported by the International Women’s Media Foundation and NDI’s VAW-PM Program.”*PRIMARY%2F*IWMF_Primary.png

By: Lula T. Jaurey

Email: /# +231886635634 /+231775806280

13 Comments to Liberia: Lack of Support And Training Undercut Women’s Political Participation

  1. Thanks for this great article its interesting to know how our women have struggled to raise their voices or to be included. We pray the national government will institute measures to curb the level of stigma targeted at women in Liberia

  2. I have come to the realization that until we change our minds and attitude towards women and girls, we are going nowhere as a country. This writer has unearthed the need to have a national dialogue on the perception we have for women’s rights. The rights of women are not optional, they have 50-50 rights just as the male but sadly, we don’t value them, we don’t support them why?

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