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Ramaphosa calls for respect for women, end to patriarchy in Africa

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President Cyril Ramaphosa says the African continent must do away with patriarchy and traditional norms where women and girls are not respected.

He says this behaviour has led to violence against the most vulnerable and needs to be addressed by engaging men and boys in ending gender-based violence.

Addressing the African Union Men’s conference in Pretoria, President Ramaphosa says positive masculinity encourages men to embrace qualities such as empathy, vulnerability, emotional intelligence and respect for diversity.

He has appealed to men to be better people. “We cannot realise a society free of violence against women and girls without critically interrogating what one could call assumptions about patriarchy, about male chauvinism and sexism. It is these assumptions and in some cases tradition that lead young men and boys to believe that women are properly that they are worthless.”

The 3rd African Union Men’s gathering was attended by prominent leaders from the continent including the former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the current African Union chairperson Azali Assoumani.

Ramaphosa says while men are in the main the perpetrators of violence against women and girls, it is men who have the power to bring about the change that is needed.

“The unity, self-reliance, self-determination, freedom, progress, and prosperity we collectively strive towards under the AU’s Agenda 2063 are being undermined by gender-based violence.  Such violence is eroding our gains, stunting our continent’s development, and leaving more than half of Africa’s population in a state of anxiety and fear.”

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