UN: Mahama stresses need to address gender gap, ending child marriage

New York, US (PANA) - President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana on Wednesday said his
country places great importance on gender equality, noting that a major priority to enhance
gender equality will be closing the vast gaps between men and women through, among
other efforts, providing decent education for girls and working to end child marriage.

"Most of the world's poorest people are women, and currently we create programmes and
policies to address this imbalance, yet regardless of how successful they may be, they are
not permanent solutions.

"They do not solve the ultimate problem, which is the vast inequality between men and
women that so many traditions have inculcated," Mahama said in his statement at the
UN General Assembly in New York.

He also addressed the plight of children and the work his country is doing to address
their needs, saying: "In order to address the issue of child mortality and malnutrition,
preparatory work is underway to earmark disbursements for pregnant women and
mothers of children under the age of one."

He noted the central role of education in achieving gender parity, emphasizing that
it was "the key to change."

"In Ghana, we have made tremendous progress in achieving the Millennium
Development Goal target on universal basic education. We instituted the 'Girl Child
Programme', which encourages parents to send girls to school, and at the primary
level we have achieved gender parity between boys and girls," the Ghanaian leader

Turning to the practice of child marriage on the continent, Mahama highlighted that,
"in West Africa, two out of five girls are married before they turn 18, face increased
maternal mortality rates and are subject to the sort of poverty that is nearly

"Ghana has launched a campaign, under the auspices of the UN Children’s Fund
to end child marriage in our nation by focusing not only on getting young girls in
school but also on keeping them there until their education is complete.

"This is being achieved through enhanced access to secondary education and
beyond without compromising quality."

On UN reform, he emphasized that "it is time for greater inclusivity in the United
Nations. The world that was in 1945 does not exist now in 2015, so the visionary
organization that was formed to meet the needs of that world must now be
reformed to meet the needs of this one."

Mahama also stressed the need to address the problems caused by the Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Boko Haram and Al-Qaida, as well to address
the as those killed in the South Sudan conflict and the thousands dead in Syria,
in Pakistan, in Nigeria, in Mexico, Afghanistan and Somalia, and the majority
from African nations, dead in the Mediterranean Sea while attempting to flee
poverty, hunger, disease or political strife or persecution.
-0-  PANA   AA/AR  30Sept2015

30 september 2015 19:11:37

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