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Invitation by President Michael D. Higgins and Sabina Higgins to the Áras an Uachtaráin (House of the President)

On June 23rd 2022,  I was truly humbled to receive an invitation to the HeForShe Garden Party hosted by the president of Ireland, Michael D. d his lovely wife, Sabina Higgins. For a woman like me, from reets of Qoaling and Ha’Mants’ebo, who is also a black refugee g invited by the president was never in my wildest dreams. Therefore, you can understand my excitement and why it is such a big deal. I am sure the experience will remain one of the highlights of my life. To say the event was spectacular is an understatement. Everyone was beautiful and happy. Plus, the weather was very kind. For those who know Ireland, you will understand what I mean. I met many big names from different backgrounds and made connections that I hope will yield future collaborations towards creating awareness of gender equality and Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

The theme of the party was gender equality, dignity, respect, putting   an end to violence, and recognizing those who have been working and considering together what contribution can be made to strengthen gender equality in Ireland. What I liked about the event was that it was spearheaded by a man and that one of the keynote speakers was a man. The message was that men need to take the lead in fighting gender equality. This is a message from the United Nations (UN), where President Michael D. Higgins is a champion for the HeForShe campaign. In his words, he said, “It is long past the time for an end to violence against women, but we have not succeeded”.

He further indicated that he and a number of other heads of states and heads of government committed themselves to using the influence of their offices to convey a simple but vital message: “men must stand in solidarity with women if women’s rights are to be fully achieved.” The million dollar question is: where were our leaders when leaders of other countries became champions to fight gender equality and GBV?