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Kenyan men should stop sexist remarks against women in authority

UREPORT
By George Githinji | February 8th 2016

For a long time, women and girls in Kenya have been oppressed by the yoke of the patriarchal society. They have been denied access to education, property ownership, leadership, opinion voice and even the right to their own bodies! Yet, within the past decade, this has begun to change. Women are becoming collectively empowered and they are stepping up to take their positions in the sphere of the Kenyan political, economic and social spheres.

We all can admit there is something attractive about a woman who is empowered, yet not arrogant or proud. She is a real definition of a beauty with brains. The way she oozes confidence sends many into a frenzy. I actually admire the intellectual aspect of an empowered woman. I have interacted with several of them and I can tell you they left a mark in my mind.

However, despite the achievements of these women and their desire to empower their fellow women, there is still a bunch of men who do not like their actions, appreciate whom they are, and recognize the struggle they have been through. While it is a human nature to err, the backlash the women receive is not the same as the men. The difference comes in that the women became victims of sexist remarks and objects of sexual ridicule, especially those women in powerful positions.

Personally, I have had some minor personal and ideological differences working with women in positions of authority, but I respect their determination and the effort they put in to reach where they are. I recognize their unique abilities and I do not classify them into one stereotype. Recently, I was quick to rebuke the CORD politicians, the media, and the common citizens who barraged Ms. Anne Waiguru with sexual innuendos to force her to resign over the NYS scandal.

While the NYS Scandal has left us all in shock due to the degree of theft by a few individuals, the pressure on Ms. Waiguru to resign should have been linked to her complacency or collusions with officials in tenure at the ministry, and then seek evidence to prosecute her as a culprit if found guilty. Nevertheless, the issue went overboard when her family was involved and her sexual life brought into the mix-up. Ironically, the same never happens to men because sexual innuendos and sexist remarks rarely seem to work on men in Kenya.

We are yet to hear Treasury CS Henry Rotich being barraged with sexual remarks, yet his inability to explain how the Eurobond was spent draws much criticism that can even supersede that directed against Ms. Waiguru. We have not heard Mr. Rotich being linked with any sexual escapades nor has his family been brought to the fore. Another interesting issue I noted is that, while people said that Ms. Anne Waiguru stole money from her ministry, when it comes to Mr. Rotich and the Eurobond, they are saying that the government stole the money, not Rotich himself. What makes the two cases different? Is it because one is a woman in a position of authority, and that intimidates men?

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