President Akufo-Addo has reiterated his commitment to support the cause of women.
He explained, “We do ourselves and future generations a great disservice if we leave women out of the agenda for development.
“It is the duty of the world in its entirety to extend a blanket protection to all women and to ensure that their rights become the bedrock for equality and social justice.” he said to a spontaneous applause during the launch of the Gender and Development Initiative for Africa (GADIA) – something he personally initiated – in Accra yesterday.
The event saw Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in attendance to encourage African women to take up challenges.
As Africa Union (AU) gender champion, President Akufo-Addo noted, “My goal to this end is to help mobilise political support to help transform Africa into an exemplary continent where sound policies and solid programmes will by the end of the day successfully elevate the existential situation of women.”
President Akufo-Addo said, “We must find a way to put Africa ahead in the promotion of gender equality and we will do so working fully with women leaders to develop solutions and not having them trail bad or try to catch up with us the men when we think we have found the solution.”
As co-chair of the Eminent Group of Advocates on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the president emphasized, “My particular role is to help Ghana support Africa to rally behind the attainment of the SDGs.”
Aware that all the SDGs are of equal importance, President Akufo-Addo insisted ,“I must…single out special mention and attention during my stay in office of SDG 5 which defines the goal of gender equality and full female empowerment.”
The Liberian President applauded President Akufo-Addo for his efforts in championing the women agenda with the various appointments he had made so far, including that of the Chief of Staff, Attorney General, Chief Justice and the several women he had given ministerial and deputy ministerial appointments aside those in key and influential government positions.
President Sirleaf observed, “It just tells us that you’ve set a stage to be able to promote women at a much higher level.”
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), Otiko Afisa Djaba, underscored, “The time has come for the sons of this country to get up and help the women, to support the women, to take our rightful place side-by-side in national development and our personal development.”
She said, “Ghana, and for that matter Africa, has been running with one leg tied behind it. The leg, that of the woman, must be untied so that Africa can run like Usain Bolt.”
She therefore outlined a few programmes she and her ministry had been pushing through, including ‘the draft affirmative action bill’ which had been sent to the Attorney General’s office and pending approval by cabinet and submission to parliament before it comes out in December.
“The time has come for every woman under the watch of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to take her rightful place; not behind and not in front, but side-by-side African women as leaders in the home, in business and in politics for the reality of sustainable development in 2020,” she charged.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent