The First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has launched the Ghana version of a campaign to aggressively close the gender gap in Africa.
Dubbed the “Unifying Campaign”, it forms part of strategic measures to fight for gender equality to enable girls and women to contribute their quota to the development of the country.
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.
Led by the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), the First Ladies will 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 also 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 the one-year campaign during its 20th anniversary celebration on the theme: “We are equal.
Working together, our society can be too”, to accelerate gender equality on the continent through advocacy by member states.
In attendance were the Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Prof. Amin Alhassan; the Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), Dr Kyeremeh Atuahene; representatives from the National Health Insurance Scheme and the Ghana Health Service, including the Chief Executive Officer of Peace and Love Hospitals, Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai, among others.
Mrs Akufo-Addo, who launched the campaign in Accra yesterday, called for action to enable women and girls to have equal opportunities.
She said by working together to dismantle the barriers that held women and girls back “we can build a future that enables all Africans to thrive”.
The First Lady also urged policymakers to accelerate the implementation of existing policies within ministries and agencies to ensure gender formed part of their 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 very significant impact.
“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,” Mrs Akufo-Addo added.
She further urged influencers, particularly those on social media whose voices go far to use their 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 to close the gender gap,” Mrs Akufo-Addo added.
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Lariba Zuweira Abudu, expressed appreciation to the First Lady for her tremendous efforts at empowering women and children.
She said her ministry had also taken advantage of the free education policy of the government to encourage more girls to further their education.
A Deputy Minister of Health, Tina Gifty Naa Mensah, said that the time had come for strong advocacy on gender equity by involving more qualified women in decision-making positions.
The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, also commended the First Lady for her good works and pledged his ministry’s support for the campaign.
The Presidential Advisor on Gender and Development, Angela Asante, said the unifying campaign was in line with the President’s vision of giving women and girls equal opportunities to thrive.
The Deputy Country Representative of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Emmily Naphambo, gave an assurance that the fund would support the successful implementation of the initiative.