Ghana has now become one of the internationally recognised countries in the HeForShe global campaign for gender equality and women empowerment initiated by the UN Women.
The country officially endorsed the HeForShe movement with a mammoth national launch by the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on December 12, 2017.
Being spearheaded by Ghana’s Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisah Djaba, the national launch of the HeForShe campaign held at the Independence Square in the capital, Accra, attracted a huge patronage.
They include Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, Diplomatic Corps, Traditional Rulers, Religious organisations, public and private institutions, decentralized departments, metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, security agencies, tertiary and basic school students, organised labour, civil society organisations and traders among others.
Clad in the official branded T-Shirt with inscription “Ghana Goes HeForShe”, the dignitaries and the large patrons at the national launch enjoyed every bit of the moment spent. They were warmly received with broad smiles by the carefully selected ushers adorned in their traditional “kente” and “ahenema” amidst traditional dance performances from the Ghana Dance Ensembles.
The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo affirmed his commitment to promoting gender equality, women participation in politics and decision making.
According to him, “inequality has an unbearable burden and cost on our economy, society and the development of our nation. Today, I join the millions of people around the world who stand together to create a bold, visible force for gender equality and say I am a HeForShe.”
Ghana’s President who is the Co-Chair of the Eminent Group of Advocates on the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union Gender Champion for 2017 urged all decision-makers to support policies and programmes that empower women and girls.
He also charged men and boys across all communities in the country to become agents of change, and join the HeForShe campaign.
“I invite lawmakers to continue their work in advancing progress for women’s and girl’s rights across the nation. I invite traditional leaders, as gatekeepers of our moral and cultural values, to work in helping to tear down the cultural barriers, which prevent our women and girls from being equal citizens. The President continued, “I invite you all to become champions of women’s rights, and agents of change, in and out of our borders.”
HeForShe is a solidarity campaign for the advancement of women initiated by UN Women. Its goal is to achieve equality by encouraging men and boys as agents of change and take action against negative inequalities faced by women and girls.
Nana Akufo-Addo was overly proud that Ghana had joined several other countries who have launched the HeForShe platform, in support of creating a better world, “where we extend a blanket of protection to all women, and to ensure that their rights become the bedrock for equality and social justice.”
The President received an endless applause from the large crowd especially gender advocates when he announced his government’s commitment to pass the Affirmative Action Bill in 2018.
“Today, I commit to giving full support to the three focus areas under the HeForShe platform for action in Ghana: to end child marriage and negative cultural and traditional practices; to increase women’s participation and representation in political/decision-making spheres, by passing the Affirmative Action Bill in 2018; and to increase women’s economic empowerment, through capacity building and a healthy business environment,” he said
The HeForShe national launch was preceded by a Media Launch in Accra by the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba to whip up the enthusiasm of men and boys in Ghana to join the HeForShe movement. The Minister spoke strongly against the various social and cultural practices against women and girls such as the female genital mutilation, child marriage, forced marriage, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, violence against women and girls, rape, defilement and widowhood rites among others.
She said “for Ghana to achieve gender equality we must strive to create a conducive and enabling environment where men and boys will rise in support of women and girls; where men will support their women to do the household chores like helping to cook for the family, going grocery shopping, preparing the children for school, supporting their women to climb the economic ladder, supporting girls’ education and skills development and encouraging the general growth of women and girls”.
She further called on all men, boys and the media in Ghana to sign onto the HeForShe platform in Ghana to enable the country to achieve its target of getting two million men and boys as HeForShe advocates.
A special HeForShe campaign song composed by the Musicians Union of Ghana was also outdoored at the national launch.
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