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Accelerate Gender Equality Drive …Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Implores Akufo-Addo

Published in politics Wednesday, 15 November 2017 09:43

By Frank Amponsah

 

The outgoing Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has indicated that although African countries have achieved some level of gender parity, much still remains to be done to bring women who are sitting on the thresholds to have a voice in playing significant roles to bring change in politics.

 

She however charged President Akufo-Addo to lead the efforts to widen the participation of women in active politics and decision making process.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was speaking at the Gender and Development Initiative for Africa (GADIA) conference yesterday  where she indicated that women have risen up to the top with determination, courage in many countries but there still remains efforts to achieve equal justice, equity and equal opportunities for all.

She said the time had come for women to lead and bring change in our body politics hence they must try something different in bringing that change and called for effective mobilization of women.

“Women have come a long way and there is no turning back. We must be able to expand,” she said.

President Sirleaf urged African women leaders and decision makers to accelerate their advocacy, promotion, and facilitation of gender equality in order to end violence against women.

She said although there are remarkable achievements, much more needs to be done in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) since according to her, half a billion fewer people are in extreme poverty, three million children’s lives are saved each year, four out of five children get needed vaccination for a range of diseases per annum, maternal mortality gets the global attention it deserves.

She however observed that despite the achievements, women and girls, in particular, still need protection for their property rights and to have a voice to participate in economic and political life.  

Using her experience as President, she noted that at the time of her campaign to become President of Liberia she mobilized women who understood her ideas and follow until they have achieved a lot for women and girls.

She averred noted that empowering girls and women and promoting gender equality would prevent all forms of violence against women and girls, end child marriage, ensure the equal rights of women to own and inherit property and eliminate discrimination against  women in political, economic and public life.

She however mentioned that Ghana has demonstrated that indeed woman can lead and commended Ghana for playing a big role in Liberia’s peace.

“Ghana has been a motivating force and I commend Ghana for that,” she said. 

She urged governments to ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life, enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communication technology, to promote the empowerment of women and adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.

The African Gender and Development Initiative is an important initiative of the African Graduate School of Management and Leadership because the school realizes that gender equity and the empowerment of women is an important pre-condition for Africa's sustainable growth and development.

On his part, President Nana Akufo-Addo who is also the AU Gender champion for 2017 said his government is focused on bringing women into political and economic sphere of the economy through education since that is the appropriate supreme symbol of women empowerment.

He said women are first line of education and therefore to educate children, women must be empowered.

According to President Akufo-Addo, educating the girl child is social development initiative and a long term project and that investing in women is an effective measure of developing a country.

He appreciated the fact that number 5 of the United Nation’s (UN’s) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) talks about achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, and said all SDGs are equally important but SDG 5 is at the heart of the structure of development.

He indicated that the time has come for leaders to extend a blanket protection to all women by mobilizing political support, sound policies, solid programs and finding a way to promoter gender equality.

He said: “empowering them is critical to speeding up Africa’s progress. As president of Ghana and as AU gender champion, I am committed to putting in place policies and programmes aimed at improving the development of the girl child in Ghana. I’m equally committed to ensuring access to a minimum of senior high school education for the girl child in Ghana; a policy that has already began to work.”

He also mentioned that he will mobilize support towards ending child marriage in Ghana and the whole of the African continent.

As leader of a country with 51% of its population being females and about 73% below the age of 35, President Akufo-Addo said, “The empowerment of our women and youth constitute fundamental challenges for our development.”

To this end, he was of the conviction that the empowerment of women and the youth “is the surest way of rooting out poverty and guaranteeing the progress and prosperity of our country and continent,” whiles noting with emphasis that “this so-called youth bulge provides immense opportunities for rapid economic development.”

 

 

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