EDITORIAL: Let's all get behind HeForShe campaign

In June, last year, President Paul Kagame was named as a HeForShe campaign’s IMPACT 10x10x10 champion, alongside nine other Heads of State around the world, as well as 10 heads of corporations and 10 heads of varsities, committing to take bold action to help achieve gender equality and empower women.

In June, last year, President Paul Kagame was named as a HeForShe campaign’s IMPACT 10x10x10 champion, alongside nine other Heads of State around the world, as well as 10 heads of corporations and 10 heads of varsities, committing to take bold action to help achieve gender equality and empower women.

Developed by the UN Women and launched in September 2014, the HeForShe campaign is a global solidarity movement for gender equality and women empowerment, a cause that’s being fast tracked under IMPACT 10x10x10 drive, a framework for bold, ambitious, realistic and game-changing commitments to advance and achieve gender equality around the world.

There are three goals which Rwanda has committed to under the IMPACT campaign, namely, bridging the gender digital divide and attaining parity in ICT access, usage and innovation by 2020; tripling girls’ enrollment in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to advance women’s employment opportunities; and to eradicate Gender-Based Violence in all its forms.

The HeForShe campaign, built around the basic fact that gender equality is not simply a women’s issue but rather a human rights issue, seeks to create a critical mass of gender equality advocates, particularly men and boys, around the world and to inspire action to urgently address issues affecting women and girls anywhere.

As rightly stated by Emma Watson, the British Harry Porter actress and UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, at the launch of the HeForShe campaign in 2014, as she underlined the importance of everyone’s involvement and taking immediate action, everyone ought to ask themselves these two questions: If not me who, and if not now when?

In all corners of the world, women and girls continue to be marginalized and denied basic rights that their male counterparts often take for granted.

Yet the consequences of gender inequality and prejudice hurt not only women and girls but also communities and economies.

Women and girls have rarely had the opportunity to reach their full potential across several areas, including education, business, property ownership, jobs, and politics, among others.

In Rwanda, the government is seeking to mobilise at least 100,000 signatures under the HeForShe online campaign, with President Kagame last week challenging men to not only sign up to the campaign but to also support gender equality and women empowerment in their everyday life.

Needless to say, in this country, gender equality is a principle that we have come to be familiar with, with several recent studies ranking Rwanda among the best countries globally to be born a girl. However, there are so many areas where women and girls’ potential is still being limited. This should never be the case and all efforts must be mobilized to reverse the trend.

By last evening, more than 41,000 Rwandans had already signed up to the HeForShe campaign and it is our hope that thousands more will come forward to support this noble cause and commit to promoting gender equality. To add your voice to hundreds of thousands of other voices around the world in support of this campaign, you just need to log on to www.heforshe.org and sign up in a matter of few seconds.

Together, let’s commit to a world that treats women and girls, and indeed men and boys, equally and with the respect they deserve. Women and girls should not only survive but thrive in an equal world.

 

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