President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday honourned more than 20 women who have made remarkable achievements socially, politically and economic fields. The purpose of the honour is to identify women whose heroic works have contributed immensely in shaping the country. These women, whom the president called the trailblazers consists of veterans who have spearheaded various initiatives aimed at empowering women and the Kenyan society since independence.
The president was keen to note that in the last few years, Kenya has made strides in empowering women. The honouring event coincided with the launch of a book, It’s Possible: An African Woman Speaks, a memoir by Ms Phoebe Asiyo. The memoir aims at celebrating the critical role played by women since independence to better the Kenyan society amid a myriad of cultural and structural challenges.
Asiyo, who was among the awardees, was the first female Luo elder and was elected to the National Assembly for the Karachuonyo parliamentary seat in 1980 to 1983. She is one of the longest serving women parliamentarians in the history of the country.
Among the Trailblazers were:
Ms Nyiva Mwendwa, Ms Ida Odinga, Dr Julia Ojiambo and Ms Margaret Kenyatta who were awarded Elder of the Golden Heart for their roles in fighting for and promoting the place of women in the socioeconomic and political arena in the country.
Ms Asiyo, Ms Grace Onyango Nominated Senator Beth Mugo, International Criminal Court judge Justice Joyce Aluoch and former long-serving Maendeleo ya Wanawake chairperson Zipporah Kittonywere awarded Order of the Burning sphere for fighting for women’s rights.
First Kenyan female professor Maria Nzomo, a diplomat, and Ms Mary Okelo, an educationist, were honoured for promoting education of women in the country among many other trailblazers.
President Uhuru lauded the winners by saying, “Kenya is a nation of strong women and we salute you.” He further said the event would take part annually stating thatthis would provide a forum for Kenyans to celebrate outstanding women.
The event was also graced by Deputy President William Ruto and Raila Odinga.