Boris Johnson appoints special envoy to ensure women and girls’ rights

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Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson has appointed Joanna Roper as a Special Envoy for Gender Equality.

Roper will spearhead the UK’s efforts to deliver a coherent international approach to ensuring the rights of women and girls. Roper will work closely with Whitehall departments, civil society, academics and other governments.

Addressing an audience of key policy makers at a reception looking forward to International Women’s Day, Johnson spoke of his personal commitment to addressing gender inequality in all its forms.

Johnson argued that in particular, unequal access to education, itself flowing from gender prejudice and discrimination was a major barrier to women’s empowerment.

Speaking at the event, Johnson said, “The sombre truth is that today 61 million girls between the ages of six and 14 do not have the chance to go to school.”

“They have the same right to an education as anyone else – and at least as much potential and ability – but too many girls in too many countries endure the supreme injustice of being denied the opportunity to attend school.”

“If you want to increase prosperity; stabilise population growth; improve child nutrition; and reduce child marriage, the single most effective remedy is to ensure that all girls go to school.”

“I hope that every national leader will wake up to the benefits – and essential justice – of educating the daughters of their country just as surely as they educate their sons.”

Speaking about her new appointment, Joanna Roper, Special Envoy for Gender Equality, said, “I’m delighted to have been appointed as the FCO’s first ever Special Envoy for Gender Equality.”

“This is really important work.”

“Gender inequality is still too common.”

“We must break down the barriers that hold women back.”

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