Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday launched the ‘HeForShe’ campaign aimed at enlisting the support of men in the fight for gender equality in Lagos.
At the event held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, Sanwo-Olu said the campaign was a clarion call on the male gender to sign up to this initiative because “it is an idea that the society as a whole stand to benefit from.
“Women are endowed with incredible potentials that the society needs to harness to achieve optimum level of development. As the Chief Executive of Lagos State and one who believes in the critical role of women in advancing the socio-economic development of our State, I am proud to accept the responsibility to lead this campaign as an ambassador for the cause of Women in Lagos State.”
The governor stated that Lagos State had been in the forefront of promoting gender equality through its policy of zero tolerance for gender based discrimination and protection of women and the girl child against violence, sexual harassment, rape and trafficking.
He said in addition, issues of women empowerment and equal opportunity for both genders were part of the cardinal policies of this administration, saying that just a couple of weeks ago, 1,050 vulnerable women and a few men benefitted from the administration’s empowerment programme which it had decided to be doing on a quarterly basis.
“Our most distinguished men in the house, I lend my voice to those of our mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and friends to call for your support in their quest for gender equality. Let us create more space for them to operate as this will free us from the burdens we have borne over the years. Also, it is important that we eschew all forms of violence against women, be it Physical, Financial, Emotional or Professional.
“I am fully persuaded that women are not out to take over from us, they have only asked for more space to operate. Why should we deny them? After all, in today’s world, women have demonstrated great capacity in all areas of human endeavor that were hitherto considered exclusive preserve for men,” he added.
Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Mrs. Bolaji Dada, said the launch of HeForShe provided a great opportunity for men to stand in solidarity with women by creating a bold, visible and united force for Gender Equality in the State and the Nation at large.
““HeForShe” was initiated by United Nations to engage men and boys as advocates and agents of change for the achievement of gender equality, it is not just women’s issue but rather a Human Rights issue. It is an invitation for men and people of all genders to become agents towards advancement of gender equality in our society. Promoting gender equality is crucial to accelerating sustainable development for our dear State which is in line with Mr. Governor’s T. H. E. M. E. S agenda for a Greater Lagos.,” she said.
Dada said the overall objective of the “HeForShe” campaign was for a society in which women and men enjoyed the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all spheres of life, adding that the campaign aimed to accelerate women’s Economic Empowerment; support women’s role in peace and security processes; advance women’s political participation and leadership and eliminate all kinds of gender based violence.
According to her, the Ministry had done a lot not only to empower women in Lagos State socially and economically, but had also improve capacity building, reorientation and self-worth of women in all works of life, most especially in rural and riverine areas of the State.
However, 10 people, including Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, were officially decorated as HeForShe Champions in Lagos.
There are also the Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat; Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudasiru Obasa, Head of Service, Hakeem Muri Okunola, Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyo Onigbanjo, among others.