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Johnson-Sirleaf urges African women to draw inspiration from her win


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Abuja (dpa) - Liberia's president-elect, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, speaking Wednesday in Abuja urged African women to draw inspiration from her election and aspire to the highest political office in their various countries.

Johnson-Sirleaf was speaking during a one-day visit to Nigeria to explain her plans and efforts to rebuild Liberia.

She said the excitement and responses generated by her success would enhance women's roles and positions, not only at the presidency level, but also in other fields of human endeavour.

Johnson-Sirleaf was declared president-elect after the conclusion of the presidential run-off in Liberia, which pitted her against football maestro, George Weah.

The president-elect said she was in favour of the Beijing Charter which called for the appointment of women into 30 per cent of political offices across the world.

"I support 30 per cent as minimum. I think we should go for 50 per cent and even more.

We did try to get 30 per cent in our own party during the elections, but we didn't get there," she said.

"But I'll be working on that as long as they have the competence and can compete equally and fairly. I don't think there should be any inhibitions. Women should just go all the way," she said.

On her plans to protect the rights of women and children in Liberia, she said her administration would be committed to the protection of women and children against violence and would ensure gender equality.

She said her administration would also examine the constitution, the statutes and policies to ensure that a clear programme on women was established.

Johnson-Sirleaf's visit to Nigeria is part of a tour of six West African countries aimed at consulting with leaders and showing appreciation for the support and sacrifices made toward restoring peace to Liberia.

Other nations to be visited on the tour are Ghana, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso. She has already visited Cote D'Ivoire.

Copyright 2005 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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