The First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, says gender inequality is a clear and present danger to the development of humanity.
Addressing a high-level meeting of the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) on the sidelines of the just ended 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, the First Lady expressed her commitment to the elimination of gender inequalities on the African continent.
Mrs Akufo-Addo began her statement by telling the captivating inequality story of Asana.
According to her, Asana was born into a poor family. Her parents managed to send her twin brother to school. At thirteen years old, Asana was married to an older man and had a child at age 14. She was required to have her husband with her on her hospital visits. Her voice is silenced. She has no income, no education, and no freedom to make decisions about her health. At age 25, she had six children and looked 40.
”As strange as this is in our 21st century, this is a picture we can all identify with. That is why this meeting is so important,” Mrs Akufo-Addo said.
We Are Equal campaign
In her report on Ghana’s launch of the ‘We are equal’ campaign by OAFLAD, the First Lady said the campaign will work with government officials, traditional leaders, media personnel, and influencers to disseminate campaign messages.
She also disclosed a partnership with the UNFPA to conduct a campaign to encourage antenatal attendance by pregnant women and advocate for more health facilities to repair fistula to give women the quality of life they deserve.
“We need to change the mindset of the women and girls we seek to help. This fight is about changing people’s perspectives, attitudes, and behaviours and re-directing society to a world of equality. A world where gender is no hindrance to one’s quality of life,” the First Lady said.
Other First Ladies and stakeholders also discussed what they have done in their various countries or areas of work.
OAFLA to OAFLAD
In 2002, First Ladies of Africa came together to form the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), with the objective to be a united voice for Africa’s most susceptible citizens; women and children living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.
Over the years, OAFLA has evolved to become an institution that is able to offer continent-wide leadership in terms of advocacy in the areas of HIV and a broad range of maternal and child health interventions.
OAFLA, currently named the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), is an advocacy organization where First Ladies of Africa seek to leverage their unique position to advocate policies that make health services accessible and laws that boost women and youth empowerment.