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Ghana on course in the fight against gender inequality, says Rebecca Akufo-Addo

Gender inequality in all its forms, Rebecca Akufo-Addo said, is a clear and present danger to the development of humanity

The First Lady of the Republic, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has told an international audience that the Government of Ghana has put in place adequate measures to ensure that the global goal of gender equality is achieved by the nation.

Gender inequality, according to Mrs Akufo-Addo, is a clear and present danger to the development of humanity. She expressed excitement about the fact that Ghana has taken the fight against gender inequality in the country a step further to ensure that it gets no place in the nation.

Addressing participating first ladies and guests at a high-level event for the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), held on Wednesday (20 September 2023) on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Rebecca Akufo-Addo said the Ghana government’s target is to change the mindset and attitudes of Ghanaian citizens towards gender equality.

Asana story

Mrs Akufo-Addo began her statement by telling the captivating story of Asana.

Asana, the First Lady said, “was born into a poor family. Her parents manage to send her twin brother to school. At 13 years, Asana is married off to an older man and has a child at age 14.

Peers and old friends at the meeting in New York of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD)

“She is required to have her husband with her on her hospital visits. Her voice is silenced. She has no income, no education, and no freedom to make decisions about her health.

“At age 25, she has six children and looks 40. As strange as this is in our 21st century, this is a picture we can all identify with. That is why this meeting is so important,” Rebecca Akufo-Addo said.

Change efforts

“I like to think that gender inequality is a clear and present danger to humanity’s development. So, I am happy that Ghana launched our Gender Equality Campaign.

“It was attended by the Minister of Education, the Gender Minister, deputy minister for health and other high-level stakeholders, including the director of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.

Rebecca Akufo-Addo welcomes Oluremi Tinubu (right) to her first OAFLAD meeting as first lady of Nigeria

“We discussed what was being done to close gender gaps in the areas of education and health. A welcome revelation was the establishment of STEM schools for girls and plans for girls to undertake courses in engineering without necessarily studying science in school,” Rebecca Akufo-Addo told her fellow first ladies.

“The director general of our state broadcasting station made a commitment to broadcast the campaign’s key messages in 27 local languages to ensure wide coverage in languages that people understand.

“We also plan to get government officials, traditional leaders, media personnel and influencers to disseminate the messages. At the end of the day, there’s no advocate more effective than the person in the mirror, and there’s no stronger advocate for others than the person who understands another’s struggle.

Rebecca Akufo-Addo at the meeting in New York of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD)

“We need to change the mindset of the women and girls we seek to help. This fight is about changing people’s perspectives, attitudes and behaviours and redirecting society to a world of equality – a world where gender is no hindrance to one’s quality of life,” the First Lady further said.


In her own address, Oluremi Tinubu, the first lady of Nigeria, who is a new member of OAFLAD, noted that gender inequality is a huge problem in Nigeria because of the country’s religious, ethnic and political divides.

She pointed out that in the little over 100 days since her husband assumed office, she and he have launched a comprehensive programme which will help bridge gender inequality and discrimination in Nigeria.

The First Ladies Club: (left to right) Rebecca Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Neo Jane Masisi of Botswana, Antoinette Sassou Nguesso of Congo Brazzaville, Oluremi Tinubu of Ghana and xxxx of xxxx


Neo Jane Masisi, the first lady of Botswana, said that the COVID-19 pandemic which swept across the globe has set the world behind in its quest to win the fight against gender inequality.

However, she said, Botswana, with support from her husband, President Mokgweetsi Masisi, has launched a new programme called the National Mindset Change.

This  is aimed at influencing the way of thinking and the choices of Batswana on matters of gender equality.


In 2002, first ladies of Africa came together to form the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/Aids (OAFLA), with the objective to be a united voice for Africa’s most vulnerable citizens: women and children living with and affected by HIV and Aids.

Rebecca Akufo-Addo chats with Marie Clar Weah of Liberia (???) at lunch in New York for members of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD)

Over the years, OAFLA has evolved to become an institution that is able to offer continent-wide leadership in advocacy relating to HIV, Aids and a broad range of maternal and child health interventions.

OAFLA, now renamed the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), is an advocacy body through which the first ladies of African countries seek to leverage their unique position to champion policies which make health services more broadly accessible and laws that boost women and youth empowerment.

The first ladies of Africa work to reinforce favourable policies and programmes through advocacy, resource mobilisation and development of partnerships with all stakeholders at all levels. The first ladies engage in grass-roots-level action to sensitise communities and create awareness of health risks and policies.

Wives of African leaders at the meeting in New York of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD). (Centre) Denise Tshisékedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Monica Chakwera of Malawi

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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