Nigerian Minister calls for leaders to support efforts in breaking the glass ceiling for women

Minister of Women's Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan and dignitaries call for leaders to fully engage in breaking the glass ceiling at the HeForShe inaugural launch in Nigeria

Date: Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Minister of Women’s Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan hosted the inaugural launch of the UN Women led HeForShe global solidarity movement on 23 May 2017 in Abuja, under the high patronage of the President of the Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari represented by Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo. Speaking to the audience and distinguished guests and dignitaries from across the country,  the Minister delivered an impassioned speech in calling for greater equality for women and girls in Nigeria.

He4She Nigeria
Senator Aisha Al-Hassan, Minister of Women’s Affairs greets VP Pr. Osinbajo upon his arrival at HeForShe Launch ceremony

“Today's launch of the HeForShe in Nigeria will avail Nigerian men and boys here present, and those who are not present and doing amazing work across communities the opportunities and platforms for telling their heroic stories to a global audience. Men will be able to share the bold, innovative and transforming actions they are taking to bridge gender gaps and provide unique equalising opportunities for women, girls and other vulnerable groups in Nigeria.”

Sharing her personal story of struggle, she emphasized the fact that the call from Nigerian women  to break down the glass ceilings and multiple barriers and stereotypes in society should not be looked at from a religious or traditional lens, as the need for equal opportunities in the work place and a level playing field for women to compete favourably with men are key to ensuring that women are empowered to achieve their highest potential.

Ms Al-Hassan seized the opportunity to introduce the “6x6x6” action plan and further explained that the HeForShe in Nigeria will roll out a national platform for men and boys across the country to engage more actively as agents of change, advocates and catalysts for reducing inequalities. “In recognition of the size of Nigeria,  a 6X6X6 initiative will bring together 6 high caliber men from 6 segments of our sociteies, namely the Executive,, the Judiciary, the Legislative, the Academina, the Private sector, and the Traditional/Religious institutions” she said.   

Speaking about her experience in the judiciary, the minister highlighted a champion who impacted her life and career as a woman in public life, Hon. Justice L. H. Gumi, the Emir of Gumi, who appointed her as the first female secretary of the committee in its 18 years of existence amid objections and apprehension.

“The access he granted me as a woman became a gateway for women to hold that position for 13 consecutive years thereby correcting the practice of bypassing women on the basis of their gender.”

On the central message of the global HeForShe solidarity call for action, she noted that "what we share is more powerful than what divides us",  and reaffirmed that gender inequality is not only a women's issue, but a human rights issue of equal concern to all, which, if resolved will benefit women and men alike in all social, political and economic aspects.

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Senator Aisha Al-Hassan, Minister of Women’s Affairs with traditional and religious leaders during Inaugural Launh of HeForShe