President John Dramani Mahama has told the United Nations General Assembly that his major priority will be the closing of the “vast” gaps between men and women through, among other efforts, providing decent education for girls and ending child marriages.

“Most of the world’s poorest people are women,” he observed “Currently are creating 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.”

President Mahama noted that in order to address the issue of child mortality and malnutrition, preparatory work was underway to earmark disbursements to pregnant women and mothers of children under the age of one.

He told the UN General Assembly last Wednesday that Ghana had made tremendous progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goal target on universal basic education adding, 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,

Turning to the practice of child marriages on the continent, Mr. Mahama highlighted that, in West Africa, two out of five girls got married before they turned 18, faced increased maternal mortality and “are subject to the sort of poverty that is nearly insurmountable.”

“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 keeping them there untill their education is complete,” he continued. “This is being achieved through enhanced access to secondary education and beyond, without compromising quality.”

“The world of 1945 does not exist now in 2015,” he continued, “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.” President Mahama advised.

–UN news

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