It will take more than good laws to bridge widening gender gap
SEE ALSO :Renewables top 90pc of Kenya’s powerWorking to change this reality has been possible through the government’s work and private sector support. For example, empowering women through legislation while also raising awareness with the help of NGOs such as Girls Not Brides, has made creating more female role models like Mwangadi possible. Continuing along the path that will create a gender equal society in Kenya will undoubtedly benefit us all. “As a country, we cannot grow at the pace we desire if we leave this huge segment of society out of decision making,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta. Former US President Barack Obama equated the gender equation to a football match. “You can’t win the game if half the team is not playing,” he cautioned in 2016 when he visited the country.
SEE ALSO :It pays to put cash in empowering peopleThe economic empowerment of women means the economic empowerment of society at large. More women included in the workforce means more nurses, more doctors, more teachers and more law-enforcement personnel. More women in politics means that the needs of more than half of our population will be better represented. We must be optimistic that with the help of strong leadership, gender equality will eventually be attained. The concrete results of efforts to empower women can already be seen, with three women elected to governor positions in the 2017 elections.
Harmful practicesThis is not a battle that will be won overnight. Other issues that must be addressed include FGM prevalence, a widespread lack of respect for women’s reproductive rights and the abuse that women face at home and in the workplace. President Kenyatta says the government has committed to ensuring that the country eliminates all forms of gender-based violence and harmful practices by 2030 through “the strengthening of co-ordination mechanisms and by addressing cultural norms that propagate these practices”. He should be held to those words. We can be confident that we are on track for addressing these issues. Sound leadership must appreciate that women are integral to ensuring the country’s economic and political development. This should never be taken for granted. Without this support, the development of strong and inspirational women would, indeed, be impossible. Ms Munuhe studies international relations at the University of Nairobi
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