Nigeria's acting president. H.E Yemi Osinbajo, launches the HeForShe advocacy campaign

Date: Tuesday, May 30, 2017

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H.E Yemi Osinbajo signing his engagement to champion the HeForShe during inaugural Launch

Abuja, Nigeria: The Acting President, His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on behalf of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari, on 23  May 2017 launched the HeForShe advocacy platform at the International Conference Centre in Abuja to call for men and boys across the country to champion the cause of gender equality and advancing women’s rights.

In his remarks, Professor Osinbajo said if given the opportunity, women would excel, but there are still glass ceilings that need to be broken, policies that need to be changed, practices that need to be altered and stereotypes about women to be discarded.

“I therefore want to call on other champions to broaden the space for women and make the world a better place for us all”.

“Over 40% of our girls are illiterate. And illiteracy means that they will not find decent well-paying jobs, that they will in many cases be married off early, many will be discriminated against in inheritance rights or punitive practices. They would work the hardest on the farms and long hours in the market, but would earn far less than men. But even the most educated, in their working lives, would be subjected to one form of gender-based discrimination or another.” 

The Acting President further stressed that the movement for gender equality is not one for women and girls alone and that the HeForShe campaign is important in shaping the future.

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H.E Yemi Osinbajo delivering remarks during inaugural Launch

“Boys are now being challenged to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with girls in the struggle for gender equality. They are learning that insisting on equal rights for women is not a favour being done to girls or women, it is an imperative for justice and fairness. It is an entitlement, a debt owed to women. It is not a gift.”

With men as champions, they would make a difference because they have a potential to inspire others to become more engaged. And each man who takes a new action helps all of humanity to take bolder steps towards gender equality in all societies—a goal that in the words of the Acting President, would ‘unleash the full potential of about half of the world’s population’.

Globally, over 1.4 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.

The HeForShe solidarity movement in Nigeria seeks to create a platform for high level, accessible and visible public advocacy on the engagement of men and boys as equal partners in the movement for achieving gender equality. UN Women provided support to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to plan, lead and implement the action plan for the national launch.