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Koome calls for an end to marginalisation of women in governance

National
 Chief Justice Martha Koome. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Chief Justice Martha Koome has called for the inclusion of more women in governance and leadership, saying women are still underrepresented and marginalised.

Despite the high number of women elected and appointed in various positions, the CJ noted that there is room for improvement.

In a speech read on her behalf during the Institute of Public Secretaries’ third Women in Governance Conference at Lake Naivasha Resort, which attracted women leaders from all sectors, Koome was, however, quick to note that the country had made remarkable progress in empowering women.

She attributed the low number of women in key decision-making organs to discriminatory laws and practices that limit access to education, health, economic and political rights.

Koome added that some of these barriers are cultural, pointing out patriarchal norms, stereotypes, or prejudices that undermine women’s abilities, roles, or aspirations.

“We have come a long way from the days when women were excluded from decision-making spaces and relegated to the margins of society,” she said.

The CJ noted that women had made significant strides in occupying leadership positions in various sectors and spheres of the society.

According to her, the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution and enactment of various laws has created an enabling environment for women to participate in governance and leadership at all levels.

“I am a witness to the remarkable progress that women have made over the years in breaking the barriers and stereotypes that had for long kept them from reaching their full potential,” she said.   

On her part, Parliamentary Affairs Principal Secretary Aurelia Chepkirui said the government has made remarkable progress in reducing gender inequalities.

She said elected women in the National Assembly are currently 29 up from 23, women governors seven up from 3 while elected women MCAs are 115 up from 97.

“We have seven women Cabinet Secretaries up from five in the last administration, 12 Women PS from nine, and a female Chief Justice in the history of Kenya,” she said.

The PS said that the government is currently undertaking economic empowerment, gender equality in leadership, combating gender-based violence, and safeguarding women’s land rights.

“The CS for Gender and Affirmative Action has established the Multi-Sectoral Working Group on the realisation of the not more than two-thirds gender principle,” she said.

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