Gender Ministry launches campaign to push for passage of Affirmative Action Bill

Gender Ministry launches campaign to push for passage of Affirmative Action Bill
Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com
Date: 17-11-2017 Time: 07:11:59:am
Otiko Afisa Djaba, Gender Minister

The Children, Gender and Social Protection Ministry is gearing up to launch a campaign push for Parliament to pass the Affirmative Action Bill.

Delivering a statement to Parliament to commemorate this year’s International Men’s Day, on Thursday, November 16, 2017, Gender Minister, Otiko Afisa Djaba, said for Ghana to achieve gender equality and equity, the ‘HeforShe’ campaign will be used to create the enabling environment for the passage of the Bill.

The campaign will be launched in December and is supported by the UN Women.

“The ‘HeforShe’ is a global initiative and for us in Ghana, we want to use it to create an enabling environment for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill. The ‘HeforShe’ invites all males, young and old from all spheres of life to come together and support the initiative," she said.

The objectives of the HeforShe campaign are as follows:

- To reflect on the contributions, sacrifices and progress made by men in society

- To improve gender relations and promote gender equality

- To create a safer and better world where men and women can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.

- Establish the Men’s Day as a popular annual event on the national calendar of Ghana.”

She adds: “Even though men have enormous power in our society, there are still some who are vulnerable, marginalized and unable to achieve their full potential. Men have a relatively shorter life expectancy than women. They are dying in combat and suffer more fatalities at the workplace than women.  Recent WHO data shows that globally male life expectancy at birth was 69 years and for females it was 74 years." 

Read below Otiko Djaba's full presentation to the legislative body.

 STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF GENDER, CHILDREN AND SOCIAL PROTECTION TO COMMEMORATE INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY, 2017 ON THE FLOOR OF PARLIAMENT ON 16TH NOVEMBER, 2017

THEME: CELEBRATE MEN AND BOYS

Mr. Speaker, Members of this Honourable House, I am very grateful to you for the opportunity given me to make this statement today 16thNovember, on the Floor of Parliament as we prepare to commemorate the 2017 International Men’s Day on Sunday, 19thNovember, 2017.

Thank you for the honour done me.

Mr. Speaker, International Men’s Day (IMD) is a worldwide annual event celebrated on 19th of November. It was inaugurated in 1992 on 7th February by Thomas Oaster. The event was re-initialised in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago. The International Men’s Day accords us the opportunity to appreciate and celebrate the sacrifice and contributions of our men.

The theme for 2017 International Men’s Day celebration, Mr Speaker, is “Celebrate Men and Boys”.

For us to achieve gender equality and equity in the society, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the UN Women wishes to inform this august House of the Launch of the ‘HeforShe’ campaign in December 2017.

The ‘HeforShe’ is a global initiative and for us in Ghana, we want to use it to create an enabling environment for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill. The ‘HeforShe’ invites all males, young and old from all spheres of life to come together and support the initiative.

 Mr. Speaker, I wish to indicate to this august House that the objectives for this year’s International Men’s Day celebration are;

• To reflect on the contributions, sacrifices and progress made by men in society

• To improve gender relations and promote gender equality

• To create a safer and better world where men and women can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.

- Establish the Men’s Day as a popular annual event on the national calendar of Ghana.

Even though men have enormous power in our society, there are still some who are vulnerable, marginalized and unable to achieve their full potential.

Men have a relatively shorter life expectancy than women. They are dying in combat and suffer more fatalities at the work place than women.  Recent WHO data shows that globally male life expectancy at birth was 69 years and for females it was 74 years.

We still find males selling dog chains or taking care of cattle and goats and undertaking galamsey, streetism, child labour on the street and involved in armed robbery, human trafficking and other abuses of the vulnerable.

Another challenge for our men, increasingly there are reported cases of violence against men and because of our culture, these men are suffering in silence.

Sometimes, the unavailability of money to provide for the home (in terms of chop money) exert some psychological and emotional stress on men. Today, economic and peer pressure on men to acquire wealth and to perform social obligations are imposing great burdens on their lives, which is also affecting their health. Again, Mr. Speaker, health challenges like prostate cancer and stroke are some of the other emerging worries for men.

Mr. Speaker, because of the leadership and dominant role of men in Ghana it is vital that we become advocates for gender equality, equity and the development of women and girls. Men should also advocate to end harmful and negative cultural and traditional practices like the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other issues like child prostitution, early child marriage, child labour and child trafficking in our society. 

Mr. Speaker, Ghana is a male dominated society due to our patriarchal culture which gives males enormous power. For example, in our rural communities, a woman gives birth to a male, guides and nurtures him to adulthood, but as soon as he is even 16 years, he is called to community decision making fora, whilst the mother is ignored and not even considered for invitation. This is a problem of how we bring up our sons to feel superior to their female siblings.   

The launch of the Gender and Development Initiative for Africa (GADIA) by our President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who is now the AU Gender Champion on the 14th of November 2017 demonstrates his greatest commitment towards the promotion of gender equality and active participation of women in the development of Africa to address these imbalances.

There is therefore the need to improve gender relations through active participation of boys and men as partners in the quest for gender equality. Male support in advocating for more women in decision making processes and the abolishing of negative socio-cultural practices affecting women’s right is important in achieving a just society.

The Free Senior High School policy, a great initiative of our President is a unique opportunity for all boys who would otherwise have been out of school the opportunity to attain secondary education.

Mr. Speaker, we need to acknowledge that Men are the strong pillars of the Home and largely the breadwinners.

The Ministry therefore has the following expectations;

•        Develop sustainable, transformative programs for the full participation of men and boys in support of gender equality.

·          The need for early socialization from the household of bringing up boys and girls as equal shareholders. For example, boys should fetch firewood, water and cook meals whiles girls could also play football and undertake male dominant activities.

•        Collaborate with government officials, men’s organizations and other Civil Society Organizations, Universities and Schools to create and promote HeForShe events and campaigns within their local communities.

•        Inspire people to take action against gender‐based discrimination and violence against women and girls

•        Create a platform to highlight as role models, men and boys who are taking a stand against gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls nationally.

·          Create an Excellence Award for communities and men who demonstrate leadership and commitment to gender equality and equity. 

Mr. Speaker, the President, your good self, the honourable males of this august House, traditional leaders, all men, our veterans in the independence struggle have provided strong leadership for this great country to date. So, we celebrate you on this international day which falls on the 19th November.

This celebration of men is also a call to action for those who have not been responsible to their families and society to be more responsible.  

Mr. Speaker, my coming to Parliament today, has accorded me the opportunity to salute and celebrate all the sons of Ghana on behalf of the all daughters of Ghana for their huge and enormous contributions and support. But like the Oliver Twist, we ask for more.

We are eternally grateful.

Long live Men

Long live Women

Long live Ghana

Thank You for your kind attention.

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