The Federal Government has inaugurated the gender equality and women empowerment campaign, tagged “HeForShe campaign’’, in Abuja.
Inaugurating the campaign on Tuesday, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Sen. Aisha Alhassan, said it was designed to secure the commitment of one billion men across the globe.
“Out of the signatories to the campaign in the country, we anticipate that half will take the initial step of making a simple pledge for gender equality.
“We also project that another quarter will pledge and be inspired to engage more fully, taking a second step to donate towards, advocate for, and sensitise themselves and other gender equality issues,’’ the minister said.
She said the final and last quarter would deepen their engagement by pledging and following through on major actions that substantially contribute to social change.
Alhassan said the campaign was not to seek equality with men from the religious aspect but to give women opportunity and bridge the gap with men.
She said the campaign would crystallised into a strategic shift that increasingly focus on actions bringing men and boys side by side with women and girls in order to break the barrier of women and girls from achieving their full potentials.
“HeForShe 10 impact Project’ launched in 2015, the projects brings together 10 heads of states, 10 global Chief Executive Officers and 10 university Presidents or vice chancellors who would sign on to 30 communities to fast track gender equality in board rooms and world capitals.
“Drawing a leaf from their example, I would like to appeal to acknowledge gender champions which includes royal fathers, religious leaders, celebrities, political leaders, civil society organisation actors, private sector chief executives, institutional and social administrators.’’
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She said in recognition of the size of the country, a six high calibre men from six segments of the society have been selected; namely the executive, the judiciary, legislature, academia, private sector, traditional and religious institutions from the six geo-political zones.
The UN Women Representative to Nigeria, Ms Comfort Lamptey, said Nigeria was the fifth country to officially launch the campaign advocacy platform after Cape Verde, Liberai, Sierra Leone and Senegal.
She said globally, more than 1.1 million men had joined the campaign movement to date.
“The HeForShe journey begins online with a simple affirmation that gender equality is not only women’s issues, but also a human right issue that requires everyone’s participation and commitment to achieve.
“The campaign is solidarity movement which aims to engage at least one billion men and boys on the topic of gender equality,’’ she said.
The Permanent Secretary, of the ministry, Mrs Nwokedi Phyllis, said the campaign would implement a shared vision of gender equality with norms of gender equality, non-violence, respect and positively shaping the society.
The newly elected President of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Mrs Ifeyinwa Omowole, said the association would support by taking the campaign to the grassroots.
She advised paramilitary organisations to join in the campaign, saying that pregnancy should not be a barrier but rather it shows a woman’s completeness.