The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba has called on fellow women and daughters of Ghana to celebrate men and boys on the occasion of the 2017 International Men’s Day.
The International Men’s Day is a worldwide annual event celebrated on the 19th of November to recognise the important roles men play in society.
Making a statement on the floor of Parliament on Thursday November 16, 2017 ahead of the commemoration of the day on Sunday November 19, Hon. Otiko Djaba said the day accords women the opportunity to appreciate and celebrate the sacrifices and contributions of men.
The Minister who is pursuing an all-important agenda of striking gender equality through the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law, expressed the need for men who are the strong pillars of society to move at the same pace with women at all levels. She also urged them to speak against all forms of socio-cultural practices that impede the development of women and Ghana’s struggle for gender balance.
The International Men’s Day celebration precedes the launch of the HeforShe campaign by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the UN Women in December 2017 towards achieving gender equality and equity in Ghana.
“The ‘HeforShe’ is a global initiative and for us in Ghana, we want to use it to create an enabling environment for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill. The ‘HeforShe’ invites all males, young and old from all spheres of life to come together and support the initiative”.
However, the 2017 International Men’s Day which will be commemorated on Sunday, 19th November is on the theme; “Celebrate Men and Boys”.
The objectives for this year’s celebration, according to Hon. Otiko Djaba were to highlight the contributions, sacrifices and progress made by men in society, improve gender relations and promote gender equality, create a safer and better world where men and women can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.
She also reiterated the firm commitment of her Ministry to establish the Men’s Day as a popular annual event on the national calendar of Ghana.
Although, the Minister acknowledged the enormous power men enjoy in the Ghanaian society, she lamented that many of them are still vulnerable and marginalised.
“Even though men have enormous power in our society, there are still some who are vulnerable, marginalized and unable to achieve their full potential. Men have a relatively shorter life expectancy than women. They are dying in combat and suffer more fatalities at the work place than women. Recent WHO data shows that globally male life expectancy at birth was 69 years and for females it was 74 years”, Hon. Otiko Djaba revealed.
She further lamented, “We still find males selling dog chains or taking care of cattle and goats and undertaking galamsey, streetism, child labour on the street and involved in armed robbery, human trafficking and other abuses of the vulnerable”.
The Gender Minister bemoaned that, there are reported cases of violence against men but unlike their female counterparts who freely report these cases, the men are suffering in silence.
Hon. Otiko Djaba asserted that the unavailability of money to provide for the home (in terms of chop money) sometimes exert psychological and emotional stress on men.
The economic and peer pressure on men to acquire wealth and to perform social obligations, the Minister indicated are imposing great burdens on their lives, which is also affecting their health”.
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection however called on men to also advocate to end harmful and negative cultural and traditional practices like the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other issues like child prostitution, early child marriage, child labour and child trafficking in the Ghanaian society.
“There is therefore the need to improve gender relations through active participation of boys and men as partners in the quest for gender equality. Male support in advocating for more women in decision making processes and the abolishing of negative socio-cultural practices affecting women’s right is important in achieving a just society” she added.
Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba disclosed the Gender Ministry in its efforts to ensure gender equality will develop sustainable and transformative programs for the full participation of men and boys.
She added the Ministry will also create an Excellence Award for communities and men who demonstrate leadership and commitment to gender equality and equity among other activities.