Madam Matilda Banfro, Acting Greater Accra Regional Director, Department of Gender has called for the involvement of men in the promotion of gender equality.
She underscored the need for the citizenry to acknowledge that gender equality was a societal issue that concerned all and must engage both men and women.
Madam Banfro made the call at a one-day male only dialogue session, organised by the Department of Gender with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Canadian Government for 75 men and boys at Amamomo in the Accra Metropolitan Assembly.
The session was to engage men and boys to understand their roles in achieving gender equality and national development.
It was also to sensitise them on their Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).
Gender equality is a human right and developmental issue, which includes the guarantee of universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.
The country’s goal towards achieving gender equality targets is guided by its commitment to International Instruments, the 1992 Constitution and National Development Frameworks.
Madam Banfro attributed the slow progress of attaining equality between men and women to the failure to promote its awareness and involve men at all levels.
‘‘Women alone cannot achieve gender equality by themselves neither can it be achieved by focusing solely on women. Gender equality affects both men and women, and progress in this area necessitates both men and women’s participation,’’ the Acting Regional Director said.
She called for accelerated actions to expand the conversation and look at how to engage and encourage men and boys to help push gender equality movement forward at the local and global level whiles acting against gender inequality, which women faced globally.
‘‘Understanding gender roles and masculinities, as well as their impact on bridging the gender gap, requires awareness, analysis and visibility,’ she said.
Madam Juliana Abbeyquaye, Acting Eastern Regional Director, Department of Gender advised men to eliminate cultural practices that degraded and disrespected women, and to be good role models in teaching their boys that ‘‘being a man means respecting women.’’
She noted that the social and economic pressures, which defined men as breadwinners, would be reduced when gender equality was achieved and women empowered.
Sheila Serwaa Ayiripe, a Senior Nursing Officer, Accra Metro Health Directorate noted that changes in adolescence could make them have sexual feelings, be disrespectful, curious, and experimental, argumentative, and aggressive behaviour.
She said abstinence was the only ‘‘proof method’’ to prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
The Senior Nursing Officer said: ‘‘In 2020, World Health Organisation estimated 374 million new infections with one of four STIs: chlamydia (129 million), gonorrhoea (82million), syphilis (7.1million) and trichomoniasis (156 million), 1 in 4 sexually active teens has an STI and majority of STIs are asymptomatic.’’
Madam Ayiripe however said it was crucial for boys to be knowledgeable about STIs early, take preventive measures and get prompt treatment to prevent long-term consequences that affected their health and enjoyment of healthier sex lives.