Men and boys urged to support HeForShe campaign

Accra, Madam Otiko Afisah Djaba, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has called on all men and boys to sign onto the HeForShe platform in Ghana to enable it achieve the target of two million men and boys as advocates.

The HeForShe campaign is aimed at mobilising over two million men to stand up and support women and take actions that lead to empowerment and gender equality for both men and women.

It also seeks to encourage men to be more responsible for their children and family, to improve care and maintenance and curb the menace of street children.

The Gender Minister made the call at a media launch of the HeForShe campaign in Accra on Wednesday.

She said achieving gender equality was a collective national responsibility and a mutual agenda for both men and women and therefore the need to seek men’s support in the campaign.

Achieving gender equality cannot happen in a vacuum, and we know it does not happen overnight, there needs to be commitment to create fair and gender equality conditions for women and men, girls and boys, she stated.

According to Madam Otiko, for Ghana to achieve gender equality people must strive to create a conducive and enabling environment where men and boys would rise in support of women and girls in all spheres for their socio-economic development.

She said the HeForShe campaign was centred on three key issues such as Affirmative Action, ending negative traditional practices and economic empowerment of women.

The Gender Minister said women participation and representation globally in political and public office was still low despite many efforts through international gender responsive policies such as the Beijing Platform of Action on Gender Equality, The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Maputo Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa.

However, Ghana has not achieved the minimum threshold of 30 per cent representation in political and public office even though the country had ratified these protocols due to the unfriendly political terrain.

She said the situation could be improved upon if all would put their shoulders to the wheel by garnering male support to passing the Affirmative Action Bill as soon as possible to address this concern.

In spite of the laws and regulations criminalising negative traditional practices, some Ghanaians still perpetuate gender based violence and the lack of enforcement of these laws was a huge challenge adding that, the Ministry of Gender intends to collaborate with other ministries and agencies to address this, she stated.

She said the time was now, for men and boys to come together to stand up and speak out against these negative harmful practices so that Ghana becomes an example of a gender based violence-free country that frowns on any negative culture or traditions that are injurious to the rights and development of women and girls.

This, she stated, would ensure a society that promotes respect for women and reciprocal respect for men as well as the respect for children to be in school, inadvertently eliminate child labour, child prostitution and any form of activity that would be hazardous to their health.

It is also expected that the HeForShe campaign will ensure that we continue to develop our policies and work strategically to achieve real change in the lives of women and more importantly men becoming the medium for such change.

Ghana needs a complete overhaul for attitudinal and behavioural change starting with patriarchal traditions and culture that encourages this male dominant society, she added.

This would bring the expected change in the lives of women through the HeForShe campaign in Ghana and at the global level.

Madam Mariam Kamara, the HeForShe Specialist of UN women, said the HeForShe campaign was a solidarity movement created by UN Women to provide a systematic approach and targeted platform where a global audience could engage and become change agents for the achievement of gender equality in the world’s lifetime.

She said: This requires an innovative, inclusive approach that mobilizes people of every gender identity and expression as advocates, and acknowledges the ways that we all benefit from this equality.

She called for a global support that would help people to come together as equal partners to craft a shared vision of a gender equal world and implement specific, locally relevant solutions for the good of all of humanity.

Madam Kamara lauded Ghana for being the next country on the African continent that had signed unto the HeForShe campaign after, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi and Senegal.

On December 12, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would be outdoored as the Ambassador Extraordinaire for the Ghana’s HeForShe campaign.

Source: Ghana News Agency