Over the years the gender equality agenda has stirred up emotional, political, spiritual and physical conversations shaping the policies that govern a society, a nation with recent proposals to make women climb the ladder in the hierarchy of leadership in Kenya.
Constantly battling with societal norms, cultural barriers, prejudice, and scrambling for opportunities in male-dominated spaces, women have over time been underrepresented in public domains and their voices suppressed crippling their vital role in the nation’s progress.
However, the women have proven beyond doubt that they can exclusively deliver through deliberately occupying spaces of leadership, advocacy, entrepreneurship and taking seats around tables where matters of women’s contribution to economic and social growth are discussed.
An important aspect of achieving gender equality is through women’s empowerment be it through education, political representation, employment, ensuring access to reproductive health services as well as eradicating all forms of violence against women.

Women potentials

In the course of realizing the potential in women, the journey although cobbled with several setbacks has over time continued to bear fruits as the gap is gradually closing with deliberate willful enthusiasm in living the dream as women have captured various spaces in the world.
Currently, we have 29 women elected as Members of parliament and 47 elected as women representatives together with 12 nominated representing the people with disabilities and youth where policies are emulated.
Seven counties are now led by women who are elected by people through different political party affiliations and a tremendously doing a commendable job.

Inclusive Education System

Angela Nabiru a Ugandan-based social media influencer narrates the ordeal in her community that deprived the girls of education and often bashed their dream that would have earned them elite positions of social change.
In Kenya, the education systems are designed in a way that actively leaves the marginalized communities or group’s quest for education empowerment too farfetched.
Ironically that which is supposed to enlighten has still not answered the question of why there is still discrimination of girls and women during their menstrual cycle evident in schools and workplaces yet this vital information is enshrined in the curriculum offered in various levels of learning institutions.
Angeline Akai a Disability Rights Advocate stresses that opportunities for students living with disabilities are limited and the ones available are quite expensive making them unaccessible thus locking a number out of enlightenment.
More investment therefore should be channelled to enhance incorporated infrastructure that is disability friendly, issuing incentives on learning materials and creating an enabling environment for the marginalized groups to access education as every child should in Kenya.

Political Injustice

The unfavourable political temperatures often escalate leaving young girls and women on the bitter receiving end having been misplaced, abandoned, bruised, violated and even murdered.
Statistics show that many women live below the poverty line with a number coming from marginalized communities as well as persons living with disabilities therefore falling prey to the dirty political matrix played out in the political domain.

Social Injustices

Social and cultural practices have barred women from progressing and exploiting their desired potential in life.
Some communities still hold on to outdated cultural practices on girls such as FGM which has led to violation of rights, school dropouts and early marriages a problem that is advancing despite the government and organizations advocating for change.
Most counties are still battling with teenage pregnancies which increasingly growing in the number of school girls involved despite the awareness done in harnessing information amongst adolescents.
Femicides reports are on the rise claiming the lives of young potential ladies to inhuman perpetrators who many a time escape the hands of justice imposing a continuous threat of more ill doings.

Creating Spaces of Safety

Aligning with the International Women’s Day theme of investing in women to accelerate progress then there is a need to deal with the political and social injustices that hinder the visioned progress.
Social Media Influencer Angela Nabiru solemnly states that often women experience abuse, and violence at home in spaces where they feel should be safe.
In this regard, many organizations are lobbying and advocating for government to invest in creating safe centres away from home where women can run to find a landing spot for safety, reflection and self-esteem boost to pick up after the shock of assault.
Notably the advocacy is bearing fruits with investments underway in creating halfway homes or safety homes to protect women from perpetrators and also sheltering them after being displaced due to conflicts and wars

 Men as Allies

The question of why there is a rise in social and political injustices would be answered if we look back and find out where the men were left in this transformation agenda.
The affirmative action has greatly concentrated on empowering the girl child creating a gap between the empowered girl child and a society where boys compete in the same spaces.
Men in their defence have become wild in an attempt to secure their spaces that are being encroachment upon by the female gender thus more broken families, GBV cases, femicides and more irresponsible men unleashed in society.
In the quest to accelerate progress, it is safe to say women cannot advance if men are not their allies and in partnership to foster sustainable changes and advocate for upholding girls’ and women’s rights.
If men are equally empowered they will rally amongst themselves to build stronger families which are incorporated in stronger communities with evenly distributed responsibilities.

  Family as the basic unit

Jaki Mathaga the Director of Resource Mobilization Daystar states that accelerated progress can only be achieved if the investment is tapped into family building as family is the basic unit where all aspects of life are groomed.
It is right from the family level that the inculcation of values and moral and wholesome grooming occurs to produce better citizens. All the activities occurring during the upbringing of a child will influence their future either negatively or positively.
Many Kenyan mothers live below the poverty line struggling to fend for their families leaving them torn between providing basic needs and grooming through social values their kids as they progress into adulthood.
There are proposals to persuade the policymakers to formulate policies on subsidized programs that a mother would take advantage of right from the birth of a child that includes, education, and health services just like in the Western countries.

 The two-third gender rule

The 2010 promulgation constitution the Bill of Rights under section 35(1) women have the right to equal treatment with men, including the right to equal opportunities in political, economic and social activities.
The two-thirds gender rule emphasizes the aspect of incorporating all genders in parliament, public service and also private sector enhancing gender equality across the divide in pursuit of gender parity.
The Multi-sectoral Working Group (MSWG) report tabled and submitted to Cabinet Secretary for Gender, Culture, the Arts and Heritage Aisha Jumwa on gender seeks to amend the 2010 constitution in Articles 97 and 98 for allocation of special seats for women and hold the parliament in compliance.
The report also seeks to amend the Political Parties Act to channel parties to sponsor and facilitate women aspirants in various political seats.

 Holding the government accountable

President Ruto pledged the realization of the two-thirds gender rule under his administration which may be a catch-up statement unless it is a deliberate act since the administration failed to adhere to the constitutional fundamentals of curbing gender bias.
President Ruto on record in December 2022 wrote a memorandum to the two house speakers highlighting the need to implement a two-thirds gender rule which has not taken any effect a year later.

Women G7 Strategy

The women convened a meeting that brought together women political leaders both elected and nominated led by the Seven Governors elected in this country.
The G7 strategy was to create awareness awakening the women to establish their full potential in occupying political spaces available to them.
The G7 summit recalled the momentous progress of women from 0- 3-7 and projected 24  women governors since devolution in pursuit of gender parity.
While gracing the G7 strategy event the President then aligned the vision by proposing that the possibility of women being deputies to president is not too far-fetched.

Women for Women

Rightfully as the saying goes no man is an island so are not women.
With Jaki’s slogan of Each One Reach One, women are urged to rally behind each other to realize the progress projected in their favour turn by turn cheering each other scaling higher the heights of leadership and entrepreneurship.
The strength of a woman is indeed to be a woman.