Source: Action Aid ActionAid Ambassador Emma Thompson today (11th February) coined Liberian women the nation’s “most promising resource” and called for greater investment in Liberian girls. The Hollywood actress and her son Tindy – a former child-soldier – were speaking at a press conference in Liberia, following a weeklong trip with international aid agency ActionAid.
“Neglect of girls is widespread in Africa because many families place a lower value on their daughters compared to their sons. Girl’s bodies are seen as a commodity and one of little economic value. This has to stop," she said.
“I met girls on my trip who told me that they are even expected to trade their bodies for good grades at school.
“Girls bodies are for them to use as and when they please. Not for anyone else. Women should have complete jurisdiction over their own bodies no matter where they live in the world.”
Emma and Tindy travelled with ActionAid Chief Executive and leading feminist Joanna Kerr. They met with Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female president and visited ActionAid women’s projects including Liberia’s first all women’s radio station, a women’s cassava farm and The Girls Forum – A group of young women who encourage other girls to stay in school.
“I have been inspired by the strength, tenacity and work ethic of the women I have met in Liberia - from the nation’s first female radio journalists to the women farmers I carried potatoes to market with.
“Liberia must urgently invest in its most critical resource – its women.”
ActionAid Chief Executive, Joanna Kerr, said:
“Liberia unfortunately has one of the highest epidemics of violence against girls and women in the world. Until every citizen, NGO and government department addresses this issue explicitly human rights and sustainable development will never be achieved.”
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