GSA Broh Joins Chorus Craving Increased Female Quota In National Army

The 63rd Armed Forces Day orator, General Services Agency (GSA) Director General Mary T. Broh was blunt in calling on the leadership of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) to also include women serving the forces in high ranking positions.“Liberia needs to step up in the representation of women in the AFL and create an environment to maintain and improve their opportunities for leadership in the military and beyond,” she emphasized.

Broh made the statement when she served as keynote speaker at the 63rd anniversary of Armed Forces Day on Tuesday, February 11, at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) UN Drive in Monrovia on the theme: “Strategies To Incorporate More Females In The Security Sector: AFL In Perspective.”

This year’s theme has spurred numerous comments on female representation in the national army, including that of President George Manneh Weah, and the AFL Deputy Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Geraldine George, who encouraged women’s participation in the security sector, but with equal training void of feminist sentiments.

A symposium held on the same theme rolled out varying views and thoughts on women and their role in the security sector, especially the military force.

Statistics show that the number of women in the Liberian army shrunk from 8 percent to a paltry 3 percent in just about one year.

But Broh believes that women are capable and strong in faith as men and can play leadership roles in the army, making specific reference to Brigadier General George, who is the first female Deputy Chief of Staff since the inception of the AFL as successor to the Liberian Frontier Force, established in the early 1900s under the administration of President Arthur Barclay, in whose honor the Barclay Training Center (BTC), the headquarters of the AFL, is named.

She reminded Liberians that gone are the days when women were referred to as uneducated people in society, adding that from the formulation of the Liberia Frontier Force in 1908, only males were recruited and enlisted into the Army.

Broh, dubbed ‘General’ by the public for her tough stance in enforcing law and order when she served as Mayor of Monrovia, cited that worldwide women are serving in almost everywhere imaginable position in the military, even as pilots and in combat roles, among others.

She further said in 1977, the first 77women were recruited and currently 82 women are in the AFL while three are decision-makers and with 19 women serving in peacekeeping mission in Mali and other parts of Africa, adding that Liberia should try to incorporate more women in peacekeeping missions.

Madam Broh, however, admonished women to not only form part of auxiliary corps, but rather aim at higher positions, emulating the good example of General George, Major Hawa Kamara, Captain Grace Samuleh and other women who are in strategic positions in the peacekeeping mission.
Madam Broh said females have played vital roles in African societies and have continued to fight harassment and intimidation in workplaces that have not prevented them from ascending to higher ranks.

Meanwhile, Broh has called on the Government through the Ministry of Education (MoE) to revisit the teaching of the Reserved Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs in various institutions as a means of incorporating more women in the AFL, urging women to also volunteer their services to all sectors in the country.

She applauded the leadership of the AFL for a “job well done for the military of this nation,” and to ensure that women are not subjected to sexual harassment and marginalization in the AFL.

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