From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The United Nations Women (UN Women) has launched the “HeForShe” Network in Kaduna State, a campaign platform for men and boys to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The UN Women’s Programme Specialist, Mr Peter Mancha, who disclosed this at a one-day workshop for members of the network in Kaduna on Thursday, August 11, 2022, said that men must collaborate with women to achieve gender equality.
Mancha said that the “HeForShe” campaign in collaboration with the Ministry for Human Services and Social Development (MHSSD) was designed to mobilise men and boys to support gender equality in the state.
He defined ‘HeForShe’ as a solidarity movement that would provide a systematic approach and platform for men and boys to serve as change agents toward gender equality.
According to him, the “HeForShe” campaign, initiated by the United Nations in 2014, is key to the realisation of gender equality in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
“The ‘HeForShe’ campaign was officially launched in Nigeria on May 23, 2017, by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development with support from UN Women.
“The campaign was subsequently inaugurated in 12 States across the country and will be inaugurated in Kaduna state very soon as the 13th state.”
He said that the “HeForShe” campaign was under the Women Peace and Security in Nigeria, Phase II project, 2022 to 2024 in six states, with Kaduna and Plateau as primary benefiting states, while the secondary states are Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi and Benue.
Mancha explained that the workshop was for the attendees to understand gender equality and how they can contribute to peace and security.
He added that members of the network would develop a work plan and establish a coordinating structure to guide the implementation of the work plan and activities of the network.
He commended Kaduna State Government for including a reasonable number of women in decision-making positions in the state civil service and political offices.
The State Commissioner, MHSSD, Hafsat Baba, stated that women currently make up 60% of the State Executive Council.
Baba emphasized that achieving gender equality necessitates an inclusive approach that recognizes men and boys as partners in the fight for women’s rights.
Members of the network were drawn from government agencies, traditional and religious leaders, security agencies, civil society organisations and gender advocates.