Women have proved their mettle in seemingly turbulent terrain
SEE ALSO :Women in slums get Coke grantProf Maathai represented Tetu constituency in Parliament (2002–2007), and served as Assistant minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the Ninth parliament (2003–2007). In the Judiciary, women continue to make their mark. Lady Justice Joyce Aluoch is known among her peers for her relentless work on the formation and recognition of the rights of children in conflict zones. Aluoch, currently serving as the first vice-president of the International Criminal Court, served as a judge in the High Court for more than 20 years before moving to the Court of Appeal in 2008. She is also an advocate of the High Court of Kenya. Special missions undertaken by Judge Aluoch include negotiations entered into on behalf of the African Union with the government of Sudan to ratify the African charter to secure the rights of children, and a fact-finding mission to war-torn northern Uganda to report on the effects of the war on children. That same year, another leading light emerged. Nominated to Parliament after a life in legal services, Njoki Ndung’u was one of the few voices of reason in the then Parliament. Her most notable contribution in the House and to society was her relentless lobbying and final publication of amendments to the Amendments on Maternity and Paternity Rights in Employment Act of 2007 and the Sexual Offences Act 2006. Her Bill sought to address the rising problem of rape and sexual assaults in the Kenya by introducing a comprehensive law reform with regard to rape and sexual assault. The law introduced stiffer and enhanced penalties for offenders. Major frontiers Many women have also played a crucial role on matters education. Every day, selfless mothers continue to single handedly put their children in school through unimaginable sacrifices. Others, with means have contributed to establishment of centres of excellence that continue to chart new paths and explore new frontiers in education. Mary Okello of Makini Group of Schools was a key a pioneer in the private education sector. Through her and others like her, the education space in Kenya continues to be liberalised. Patriarchal walls in media continue to be broken by the rise of female practitioners. The onset of FM stations saw the monopoly held by the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation crumble. From the flakes rose a new crop of female radio presenters who continue to be trendsetters. This includes Carol Mutoko, who has deservedly morphed into authorities in broadcast. In television, Beatrice Marshall and Catherine Kasavuli rose to become veritable legends in their fields. Lupita feat The arts too have their femme fatales to celebrate. In 2013, Lupita Nyong’o won the much coveted Academy Award for her portrayal in Steve McQueen’s movie 12 Years A Slave. She was perhaps testimony to the talent possessed by thousands of others in the arts who walked the stage before her and who will continue to perform for audiences after her stage exit. Others behind the camera include Judy Kibinge and Njeri Kirago who have had long standing partnership in film that has led to a string of acclaims from the film world. Among their most famous collaboration is their movie Project Daddy. The two have also received numerous solo accolades as film directors and producers. The 1990s saw Nazizi Hirji take on the field in a new male dominated form of music in Kenya. As the famed trio of Kalamashaka caused shockwaves, she bloomed to be counted among the pioneers of this music form. Together with others, she is responsible for the subsequent popularity that Kenyan rap music has enjoyed over the years. Nearly two decades after first putting mouth to mic, Nazizi is still at it.
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