Wed | Aug 23, 2017

The fastest man in the world is HeForShe

Published:Monday | July 18, 2016 | 7:00 AM
HeForShe Champion Usain Bolt with Respect Jamaica’s Kemesha Kelly and Jordanne Edwards.
Usain Bolt, HeForShe campaign ambassador.
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Usain Bolt, Jamaica's Olympic champion and the fastest man in the world, has signed on to the HeForShe Campaign.

Bolt, an icon for track and field athletics who has established himself as the greatest sprinter of all time, brings to the forefront of his global audience the issue of gender equality and ending violence against women and girls.

The national launch of the HeForShe Campaign in Jamaica is a collaborative event with partners, the United States Embassy to Jamaica, Respect Jamaica, UN Women Multi Country Office - Caribbean, Digicel Jamaica, the High Commission of Canada, the British High Commission, and the EU Delegation to Jamaica.

The Jamaica campaign is marked by high level public commitments - Minister of Gender Affairs Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, Jamaican and international recording artistes - Beenie Man, and Omi and Jamaican activists Michael Abrahams and Owen 'Blakka' Ellis, and Mutabaruka.

Minister Grange commended the partnership between the US Embassy in Jamaica, UN Women and her ministry: "This campaign is an initiative which intends to reframe gender equality, from that of a women's issue to an issue which requires the full participation of both women and men. I believe that this approach is beneficial to all of society - socially, politically and economically."

Representative for the UN Women Multi-Country Office in the Caribbean, Christine Arab said the active participation of strong partners is central to the success of the campaign: "Given the crucial role of men and boys as advocates and agents of change, HeForShe provides a platform for men to self-identify with issues of gender equality and its benefits, which liberate not only women, but also men, from prescribed social roles and gender stereotypes. We congratulate Jamaica on an impressive list of HeForShe Champions representing the voices of the nation and with the ability to reach to all corners of the island," Arab added.

"The United States Embassy in Kingston is proud to announce its support for the campaign," said US Ambassador Luis G. Moreno. He urged all Jamaicans and those who support Jamaica to take the HeForShe Pledge and "stand together to create a bold, visible force for gender equality".

Canadian High Commissioner Sylvain Fabi is thrilled with the campaign. He noted, "Our prime minister has made it very clear that in this day and age women must be treated as equals. Research demonstrates the critical role woman play and the positive impact they have on development, the economy and the family. It is imperative that everyone, women and men, support the goal of equality."

"We promote gender equality and women's empowerment as a constant EU priority," Jose Luis Martinez, charge d'affaires of the European Union Delegation in Jamaica, said. "We are delighted

to be part of this effort to raise awareness about violence against women and girls, and encourage all Jamaicans to be part of the change."

In 2014, UN Women's Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka launched the HeforShe Campaign. HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality developed by UN Women. HeForShe calls on men and boys to work together with women and girls to end gender-based discrimination, and within that, the most egregious violation - gender based violence. Through aligning with the HeForShe campaign men and boys will signal their commitment to working to realise gender equality in their homes, schools, workplace, communities, places of worship and fields of play, ultimately in all of their social spaces.

More than 1.3 million people globally have committed to HeForShe. Usain Bolt's commitment and the leading HeForShe ambassadors' participation is a lead-up to the official launch of the campaign at month end.

Please go to their website www.heforshe.org - and show your commitment to the campaign, illustrating Jamaica on the world stage.