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Men must champion women’s rights – Akufo-Addo

Dec. 13, 2017, 2:36 p.m.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged decision-makers from all sectors of national life to support policies which empower women and girls.

At the launch of the HeForShe platform, at the Independence Square, in Accra, on Tuesday, 12th December, 2017, the President also invited men and boys across all communities in the country to become agents of change, and join this platform.

“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,” he said.

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.

With President Akufo-Addo holding the dual positions of 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, he noted that “we do ourselves and future generations a great disservice if we leave women out of the agenda for development.”

Reiterating the significance and importance of all of the SDGs, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that “as the AU Gender Champion, I must, perforce, single out, for special mention and attention, during my stay in office, SDG 5, which defines the goal of gender equality and full female empowerment. In my estimation, it is at the heart of the structure of the SDGs.”

The President was, thus, proud that Ghana has 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.”

As AU Gender Champion and the Co-Chair of the UN SDGs Advocates, President Akufo-Addo pledged to work with all actors to ensure that gender equality becomes reality in Ghana, and across the continent.

“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

As Ghana goes HeForShe, President Akufo-Addo urged the gathering and Ghanaians to remind themselves that “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.”