I welcome this opportunity to join the world in celebrating the accomplishments of women in nurturing their families, shaping their communities and building nations in different ways around the world.
Today’s International Women’s Day commemoration comes just two days after we celebrated the 57th Anniversary of Ghana’s Independence. It is a most opportune time to remind all of us that ‘Equality for Women is Progress for all’. This is the time for action to end all forms of economic, cultural and social discrimination against women.
The pervasive culture of discrimination and gender-based violence in our societies continue to seriously affect the fundamental rights of women – rights to life, health, security, mobility, political participation and employment.
Without fundamental changes in the attitudes of individuals and the underlying ethos of social institutions, our societies cannot achieve full equality between women and men. Girl education is critical to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. Quality basic education can have a transformational effect on girls, making them drivers of lasting change in their families, communities and countries.
International Women’s Day provides an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the status of women in our societies, honour the extraordinary women, whose courage and determination have shaped our lives, and re-dedicate ourselves to the on-going struggle to address the challenges facing girls and women everywhere.
I believe that the post-2015 development framework can act as a catalyst for progress on gender equality. To be successful however, gender equality must be mainstreamed and addressed in a specific goal.
Gender equality must be integrated into key areas such as health, education, economic empowerment and political participation.
We must also directly address the issue of violence against women and girls, which remains one of the biggest barriers to achieving gender equality.
Through my organisation, the Lordina Foundation, I will continue to champion the cause of women and the girl child, and my broader objective of providing care and support to the vulnerable.
Over the last one year, I have not only worked to improve on the conditions of orphanages, but also worked with the Ministry of Health to provide our girls with vaccinations against cervical cancer. We have also helped girls and women to receive breast cancer education and screening and with the Ghana AIDS Commission, organised HIV & AIDS advocacy and initiated programmes to eliminate Mother to Child HIV Infection.
We are making progress and together we can quicken the steps towards success. I commend all women of Ghana who have been part, and continue to be part of the process.
H.E. Mrs. Lordina Dramani Mahama First Lady of the Republic of Ghana & National President-Lordina Foundation