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Heads of state and leaders from the public and private sectors mobilize to advocate for gender equality in Africa

The effort is part of the Have Her Back campaign, launched by the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development 

Monrovia, LIBERIA – The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center) has announced the launch of the Have Her Back campaign – an exciting initiative to mobilize male leaders and members of the public from across Africa to make concrete pledges to advance gender equality.  

These commitments are part of a game-changing bid to shift perceptions of African men’s support for gender equality, simultaneously making strides in addressing and breaking down barriers to women’s participation. 

The campaign launched with commitments from H.E. President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire, H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma, former president of Sierra Leone, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, and businessman and philanthropist Dr. Mo Ibrahim. 

President Ouattara said: 

“I welcome and wholly support the Have Her Back campaign…I am committed to giving my full support to all initiatives which aim to promote female leadership. I encourage leaders at all levels to commit themselves through concrete actions in the same way. 

President Ramaphosa noted:  

“I will #HaveHerBack. I pledge to improve the representation of women in senior management position levels in the public sector towards overall gender parity.” 

Former President Koroma expressed his support, saying: 

“I pledge that I will use my office…to continue to advocate for support and opportunities to be given to our women in politics, in business, and in our society.” 

Former President Obasanjo said:   

“I pledge to ensure that I work for parity between the number of women and men engaged at all walks of life.”  

Dr. Ibrahim also shared his commitment: 

“I pledge to #HaveHerBack by doubling our efforts in campaigning in Africa for more gender equality, the rights of women, education of girls, family planning – all the issues which are really important to help bring our women to the center of development in Africa.” 

The male leaders above will be joined in the coming days by other prominent African political leaders, businessmen, and philanthropists.  

The Have Her Back campaign also calls upon men across the continent to make concrete pledges to further women’s leadership in their spheres of influence. It also provides an opportunity for women to recognize the men who have supported them over the course of their careers—and encourage other men to follow their lead. 

Throughout the campaign, public pledges will be bolstered by contributions such as those above from some of Africa’s most influential male leaders in government, business, philanthropy, and more – inspiring men at all levels and across all sectors to consider what they can do to advance gender equality.  

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Founder of the EJS Center, encouraged people from across the continent to take part: 

“Women’s advancement benefits all of us, regardless of gender. So let us come together – men and women – to break down barriers to women’s leadership.” 

To learn more about the Have Her Back campaign and how you can get involved, visit www.ejscenter.org/have-her-back 

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