Diplomat: Kenya has made progress in areas of women empowerment

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Madam Katrin Hagemann-European Delegate to Kenya with members the Coast Civil Society Reference Group Network. PHOTO/CIWD

 By PATRICK MAYOYO

Kenya has made progress in the areas of women empowerment and gender equality, Madam Katrin Hagemann-European Delegate to Kenya has said.

Madam Hagemann however noted that important gaps still remain like the passing of the two third gender rule and stressed that gender equality is an essential expression of human rights and that women’s rights are human rights.

“We can see good progress in achieving gender equality and women empowerment but still these areas remains unbalanced and uneven,” she noted.

Madam Hagemann applauded the local organizations that are working tirelessly to address gender disparity and social injustices against women and girls.

The diplomat noted that employment opportunities and representation in decision-making levels are key areas that can transform the lives of women and girls.

“Women’s rights should be strongly attached to the notion of human rights and that the progress of men and women are inextricably bound to each other,” Madam Hagemann concluded.

Even as the world recently celebrated African Women’s Day with the theme; The political legacy of African women from 1975-2021, Kenyan women have been struggling to participate equally alongside men in leadership and decision making at all levels of governance.

The chairperson of the Coast Civil Society Reference Group Network, Mr Zedekiah Adika, said the  issue of electoral security challenges for women especially now when Kenya is gearing up for election in 2022 was key.

“Every time we near an election, there is always a red flag because of the historical grievances that have remained unanswered which are the critical reasons for violence in Kenya,” he said.

Mr Adika said violence during elections, particularly when repeated shows a wider and deeper grievances and pressures.

Executive Director of Collaboration of Women In Development- CWID, Ms Betty Sharon said that despite Kenya having good affirmative action measures, representation of women in Kenya’s parliament has been and remains minimal.

Ms Sharon who also leads the Thematic Area of Gender Pillar added that only 20.7% of the eleventh (sitting) parliament is comprised of women, which is the lowest in East Africa.

“Underrepresentation of women in positions of power is untenable; a country simply cannot progress economically, politically or socially without half of its citizens participating meaningfully in political spheres and critical decision-making processes.” she observed.

Additionally, she stated that patriarchal political parties have also failed to support women in important positions despite a focus on their party manifests being gender inclusive.

“The Constitution of Kenya 2010, domesticates great commitments to safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms and entrenches the concept in article 81, however the bone of contention has not been met since the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010,” she concluded.

Additional reporting By Doris Ojiambo

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