Women in Liberia, and Reaching Equality: Are we there yet?, July 2021


Executive Summary

In 2016 the Liberia Peacebuilding Office (PBO), the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the United Nations Development (UNDP) initiated the first Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Index (SCORE) project in Liberia. This was the first time that SCORE had been deployed on the African continent. The goal was to assess Liberia’s state of social cohesion in the context of the two historic transitions which took place between 2017 and 2018: the first democratic transfer of power in 70 years and the departure of the UN peacekeeping force, which had guaranteed the country’s stability for the previous decade.

The first SCORE index (2016-2017) was used to measure social cohesion and resilience capacities in local communities to prevent conflict. The project provided predictive assessments of strategic peacebuilding interventions that held the greatest potential for sustaining peace at a time of declining peace and development resources. These results were used to guide the design of the Government of Liberia’s (GOL) Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), which was published in 2018. Multiple SCORE metrics were used as monitoring indicators to track progress towards achieving specific high-level targets identified in the PAPD.

The second SCORE project (2017-2018) coincided with UNMIL’s departure. Support from the UN system and the Embassy of Ireland helped to convert SCORE findings into evidence-based publications which were disseminated to government policymakers, the donor community and Liberian civil society. These three reports are entitled a) Enhancing Good Governance, b) Addressing Violent Tendencies and c) Fostering Constructive Citizenship, and their publication sought to add value to the national debate on reconciliation and peace consolidation. This phase of SCORE Liberia paid special attention to domesticating two key sustainable development goals (SDGs) for Gender Equality (SDG 5) and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16).

The third SCORE Liberia project (2020-2021) provides an opportunity to assess progress in Liberia since the closure of UNMIL on 30 March 2018. The three reports in the 2021 series will explore a) progress towards sustaining peace, b) livelihood resilience and c) women and the peace dividend. They build on the work and knowledge accrued through previous SCORE projects, and together provide policy makers with evidence-based insights which can optimize efforts to accelerate progress towards achieving key targets in the PAPD.

This report explores the extent to which gender equality has been achieved in Liberia since the departure of UNMIL.