More Women, Better Boards
Women Diversity & Inclusion in
Business Members Organization & Boards in Liberia
Diversity and inclusion is a major issue in businesses in Liberia and within the Liberian Chamber of Commerce. There is strong evidence globally that the inclusion of women in decision making has a demonstrable effect in improving the performance of organizations (companies) specifically, and in doing so positively impacting on sector and general national economic growth.
According to an IFC report, women in Liberia are much more likely than men to be self-employed (69 percent of women compared to 56 percent of men). However, the majority of female entrepreneurs in Liberia continue to work informally and in low-productivity sectors, mainly in small retail and trade. Among entrepreneurs, women are more likely than men to own completely informal enterprises (60 percent of women, compared to 45 percent of men). Wholesale and retail trade, the second-most important sector for overall employment in Liberia after agriculture, employs around 35 percent of the female workforce (compared to just 15 percent of employed men).
The Liberia Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to being the most representative business association and a trusted voice of the private sector in Liberia. Since the establishment of the Chamber in 1951(66 years ago) there has not been a female president, although there have been two female vice chairs. At the recent elections of its new corps of officers in March 2017, not one female was nominated nor elected to the Executive Council, which includes past presidents (all males).
The Chamber’s membership represents close to 300 top companies and business associations. However, less than 5% of our members are female owned. This lack of diversity and inclusion with Business Members Organizations and boards of companies is not unique to The Chamber, it applies across the board in Liberia.
The Liberia Chamber of Commerce partnered with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and hosted a one-day conference on June 21, 2017 in Monrovia, Liberia. The objective of the event was to use this platform to raise awareness of the benefits of having a diverse board; supporting the need for targeting more women to become more actively involved in Business Members Organizations and boards across all sectors.
The event examined the challenges faced by women in accessing Boards and more formal business spaced and will also consider strategies for proactively progressing the diverse board agenda.
Following the conference, a Task Force was set up.
The purpose of the Task Force is to recommend a framework for increasing women representation on public and private Business Members Organizations and Boards.
Task Force Members
Stephanie SalaMartu Duncan
Barkue Tubman Zawolo