The Federal Government of Nigeria launched the gender equality and women empowerment campaign, tagged “HeForShe campaign’’ on Tuesday, May 23, in Abuja.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Alhassan, said the campaign was designed to secure the commitment of one billion men across the globe.
She said out of the signatories to the campaign in the country, it is anticipated that half will take the initial step of making a simple pledge for gender equality.
According to her it is also projected thatsome will be inspired to engage more fully, taking a second step to donate towards, advocate for, and sensitize themselves and others on gender equality issues.
Others are also expected to deepen their engagement by following through on major actions that substantially contribute to social change.
Alhassan said the campaign seeks to give women opportunities and bridge the gap with men. She also added that the campaign would crystalize into a strategic shift that increasingly focuses 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.
Comfort Lamptey, the UN Women Representative to Nigeria, said Nigeria was the fifth country in the regionto officially launch the campaign advocacy platform after Cape Verde, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal.
She said globally, more than 1.1 million men had joined the campaign movement to date.
The UN Women Representative further explained that the HeForShe journey began 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.
She said the campaign is a solidarity movement which aims to engage at least one billion men and boys on the topic of gender equality.
Nwokedi Phyllis, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, said the campaign would implement a shared vision of gender equality with norms of gender equality, non-violence, respect and positively shaping the society.
Ifeyinwa Omowole, thepresident of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), said the association would take the campaign to the grassroots.
The HeForShe campaign was launched on 20 September 2014 at a special event at the UN Headquarters hosted by UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, actress Emma Watson. At that event, UN Women made a call to mobilize the first 100,000 men in the campaign, a goal successfully reached in just three days.
In January 2015, the “HeForShe”campaign launched a 10 ImpactProject at the Davos Forum brought together 10 heads of states, 10 global Chief Executive Officers and 10 university Vice chancellors who were expected to sign on to 30 communities to fast track gender equality in board rooms and world capitals.
In Nigeria, six men from six segments of the six geo-political zones of Nigerian society – the executive, the judiciary, legislature, academia, theprivate sector, traditional and religious institutions – were selected for the campaign.
Veronica Ogbole / Nigeria