Across the globe, First Ladies have become formidable advocates for gender equity, maternal health, girls’ education, and economic opportunities. Gone are the days when First Ladies were largely viewed as adjuncts to their presidential husbands. These strong and powerful women are delivering for the world.
First Ladies from Africa, from Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Ghana, met twice during Women Deliver 2010 to share their experiences as First Ladies and to discuss how they can better use their positions for improving the lives of girls and women in their countries. Women Deliver believes in the power of First Ladies to make real progress for the girls and women of the world.
The First Ladies release the following statement at the Women Deliver 2010 conference:
STATEMENT FROM THE FIRST LADIES OF GHANA, SIERRA LEONE AND ZANZIBAR AT THE WOMEN DELIVER 2010 CONFERENCE
9 June 2010
Hello. We are the first ladies of Ghana, Sierra Leone and Zanzibar and are honored to stand before you today. We believe that the first human right is the right to safe and healthy lives. Maternal mortality denies women prematurely that right and the rate of maternal deaths speaks loudly about the health status of a country. The problems women share recognize no borders.
We have been reminded here at Women Deliver that all things are possible when women support each other. Whether you live in a developing or a developed nation, we each have something to offer. As first ladies, we commit to influencing our governments to put into place the policies that can have the greatest impact. We will continue the advocacy work we are already doing. And we will work harder to influence the role of culture on social conditions, particularly males’ attitudes.
We will continue to tackle early marriage, family planning, and practices around childbirth. We will lead advocacy for quality education of our girls, and we will increase economic advantages for women. It is so clear that women have power, and that we must use that power to ensure that all girls grow up into healthy, educated women. We, the first ladies, promise we will take that responsibility seriously. Thank you.
- Mrs. Ernestina Naadu Mills, Ghana; Mrs. Shadya A. Karume, Zanzibar; Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma, Sierra Leone