UN Women calls for “Every man, Every individual wherever they are” to join the cause for Gender Equality during Inaugural Launch of the “HeForShe” in Nigeria

Date: Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development launched the HeForShe global solidarity campaign in Abuja, Nigeria on 23 May 2017, with  the support of UN Women. and with funding from the Government of Japan and the European Union. The event took place at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, and was officiated by Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo. Approximately 500  guests were in attendance, including dignitaries and government officials, traditional leaders, religious leaders, celebrities and artists, champions and influencers from civil society—including youth and the media. 

On behalf of UN Women’s Executive Director, Phumizile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the  UN Women Country Representative for Nigeria, Comfort Lamptey, congratulated the women and men of Nigeria for the bold commitment to join the expanding  HeForShe movement.  In the words of UN Women’s Executive Director, Ms. Lamptey noted that “We are here together to mobilize a vast, far-reaching solidarity movement of men and boys, and to support them to become advocates for gender equality. These men shall be known as HeForShes. We want to end the battle of the sexes; andrather, introduce the partnership of equals.”

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UN Women Country Rep Comfort Lamptey with Vice President of Nigeria

Ms. Lamptey went on to explain that the need for the HeForShe campaign stems from the realisation that despite some progress in our collectives efforts to advance women’s rights and gender equality, gaps remain. Globally, women’s representation in parliament stands at 22%, and women make up 24% of managers in corporations. She added that, ‘in Nigeria, the picture appears even starker, as women comprise under 6% of the membership of the legislature; an average of 28% of women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence in at least one instance since age 15; and among the close to  70% of the population estimated to be living below the poverty line in the country, over 65% are women.’ 

Despite the enormity of present challenges , Ms. Lamptey spoke about the bold and positive experiences and commitments by men to advance gender equality in Nigeria. Highlighting achievements under UN Women’s European Union funded ‘Northern Nigeria Women Peace and Security’ programme, she noted that  “In Adamawa State, 49 women have been appointed as Advisors to the Paramount Ruler in Bachama Kingdom in Numan Local Government Area.” 

Emphasizing Nigeria’s potential to lead as the top HeForShe country in Africa, Ms. Lamptey said, “we count on Nigeria, as a giant of the region, to lead the way on this important journey to mobilize men and boys as partners to make the goal of gender equality a reality.” She thanked His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, representing President Muhammadu Buhari, for the commanding leadership example set by the Presidency, in committing to this cause. “We are honoured to have partnered with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development, under the leadership of Her Excellency Senator Aisha Alhassan to launch this campaign today”, she concluded.

Globally, over 1.1 million men have joined the HeForShe movement to date. Nigeria is the fifth country to officially launch the HeForShe campaign in the West Africa sub region after Cabo Verde, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal. HeForShe aims to engage at least 1 billion men and boys on the topic of gender equality.

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UN Women Country Rep, Comfort Lamptey with VP of Nigeria and Minister of Women’s Affairs and other distinguished guests