The First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has launched the Ghana version of the “Unifying Campaign” aimed at closing the gender gap in Africa.
The campaign, launched in Accra on Monday, forms part of the strategic measures to fight for gender equality and ensure that girls and women contribute their quota to the development of Africa and Ghana in particular.
Being run on the theme: “#WeAreEqual,” the campaign brings together African first ladies, partners, and allies to advance gender equity and close the gender gap across the continent.
The Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) is leading the year-long campaign and the first ladies would work together to dismantle the barriers that hold women and girls back in health, education, women’s economic empowerment, and gender- based violence.
The campaign drives home the message; “We are equal — and always have been. Our health care, education, economic opportunities, and freedom from violence should be equal, too.”
In June, this year, OAFLAD launched a one-year campaign during its 20th Anniversary on the theme: “We are Equal. Working Together, Our Society Can be Too,” with the aim to accelerate gender equality in Africa through advocacy by member states, said Mrs. Akufo-Addo.
She, therefore, called for action to enable women and girls to have equal access to health, education, skills and free from gender- based violence.
She expressed the hope that by working together to dismantle the barriers that held women and girls back, “we can build a future that enables all Africans to thrive.”
Mrs. Akufo-Addo encouraged policy makers to accelerate the implementation of existing policies within the ministries and agencies to ensure that gender was truly a crosscutting theme that ran through strategies and programmes.
“The fight for gender equality is an age-old one. Sadly, it is a fight that has not been won. Even though the global gender gap has been narrowing, we need a lot more urgency and action to make a very significant impact,” she said.
“When women and girls, representing about half of our society, have equal access to health, education and skills and are free from gender-based violence, they can contribute their quota to the development of our nation”.
The First Lady urged all stakeholders, especially social media influencers, to use their platforms to promote gender equity in health, economic empowerment and livelihoods, education, decision making, and development in general.
To all influencers, your voices go far. Use your platforms to promote gender equity. Our expectation is that this campaign will achieve intensified awareness, effective stakeholder engagement, stronger policy commitments, and increased media attention on closing the gender gap.”
Madam Lariba Zuweira Abudu, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, commended the First Lady for her tremendous efforts in empowering women and children.
She said her ministry had already taken advantage of the Free Education Policy to tackle the issues being promoted by the Unifying Campaign since most girls could go to school under the programme.
Ms. Tina Gifty Mensah, the Deputy Minister of Health, pledged the Ministry’s readiness to support the campaign to ensure its success.
She said it was time to pursue strong advocacy to enforce gender equity by involving more women in decision-making and championing the promotion of qualified women and support those with the potential to fill higher positions.
Mr. Yaw Adutwum, the Minister of Education, thanked the First Lady for her good works and pledged the Ministry’s support to making the campaign work.
He said by the success so far achieved with the Free SHS and the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education, a lot of girls had gotten the opportunity to study those courses adding that the Unifying Campaign was in line with the President’s vision of giving women and girls equal opportunities to thrive.
Dr Emmily Naphambo, the Deputy Country representative, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), acknowledged Ghana’s role in ensuring gender equality and the well-being of women and girls.
She, however, called for a lot more to be done in maternal mortality, unmet family planning needs, and female genital mutilation, among others.
She pledged the UNFPA’s continuous support to ensuring that the country was on track to meeting all its socio-economic needs.
The event was attended by dignitaries including Professor Amin Alhassan, the Director General (DG) of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Dr Kyeremeh Atuahene, DG, Ghana Aids Commission, and Dr Beatrice Addai Wiafe, Chief Executive Officer, Peace and Love Hospitals.