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Kenya’s Score Card In Championing Gender Equality and Women Empowerment

Baroness Patricia Janet Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations & President Uhuru Kenyatta

By Winnie Kabintie

Kenya has over the years made some quite notable steps in advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls as highlighted during the opening ceremony of the 12th Commonwealth Women Affairs Ministers Meeting (WAMM) in Nairobi.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, in his speech, affirmed delegates in attendance of Kenya’s commitment to champion Gender Equality, saying it is central to the development agenda of his government.

The President further sighted that the country has various constitutional, legal and policy frameworks in place to promote, enforce and monitor equality and non-discrimination.

“Our development blueprint Kenya Vision 2030, outlines flagship projects for the promotion of gender equality, Inclusive Economic Growth, Prevention and Response to Gender-Based Violence, Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other harmful practices, Gender Mainstreaming and empowerment of the girl child,” The president said.

Women’s Economic Empowerment,

Among the initiatives the government has undertaken to empower women economically is the Uwezo (empowerment) Fund, Uwezo the Women and youth Funds, which provide women, youth and people with disability (PWD) access to low-interest capital funding for their enterprises.

The government also introduced the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO), programme through affirmative action, which allows enterprises owned by women, youth and PWD to be able to bid for government tenders where they have a 30 percent allocation.

Gender and Development: Ending Discrimination

Prof Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender, who is chairing the commonwealth women ministers meetings, said the country has developed critical policies and legislation to promote, enforce and monitor equality and non-discrimination.

These include the review of National Policy on Gender and Development and the National Policy for the Eradication of Female Genital Mutilation.

A special unit was also created at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to handle FGM and other gender-based violence-related cases.

Backed by a progressive constitution, Kenya has developed critical policies and legislation to promote, enforce and monitor equality and non-discrimination. We have also reviewed our National Policy on Gender and Development and the National Policy for the Eradication of Female Genital Mutilation both of which have been approved by Cabinet,” Prof Kobia said.

Empowering Girls In Education

Professor  Kobia also underscored Kenya’s efforts in empowering girls in education. She among other things cited the provision of free sanitary towels to school girls saying the programme has greatly addressed absenteeism of girls from schools as well as transition to higher levels of education.

The government also introduced a program to ensure 100% transition from primary to secondary school, which has seen over 90% of all students proceed from primary to secondary education through full government sponsorship.

Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights – the Demographic Dividend.

The CS further affirmed the country’s quest to harness the demographic dividend, saying the benefits will be achieved not just by education alone but through training, creation of opportunities for decent work for young people and the availability of family planning.

“Kenya subscribes to target 5.6 of Goal 5 of the 2030 Agenda that aims to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development,” she said.

Gender Violence

Kenya has progressive laws and policies to tackle to gender-based violence (GBV). These include the Protection Against Domestic Violence Act, 2015, Sexual Offences (Medical Treatment) Regulations (2012); and the Sexual Offences Rules of Court (2014).

The government in partnership with non-state actors is currently implementing a joint program on preventing and responding to gender-based violence and working with the Judiciary on strengthening access to justice for victims of GBV.

This year’s theme for the law society of Kenya (LSK) legal awareness week is; Eradicating Gender-Based Violence – A Focus On Mental Health.

LSK will undertake legal aid clinics to sensitize the public on how to eliminate gender-based violence and the various avenues for redress for victims of gender-based violence.

UN Lauds Kenya’s Efforts In Championing Gender Equality And Women’s Empowerment.

Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, The United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) lauded Kenya’s efforts in championing gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“I especially thank H.E. President Kenyatta for his firm commitment to ending practices that harm women and girls and hinder their potential, including female genital mutilation. President Kenyatta, we at UNFPA will work with you, your government and the people of Kenya to achieve this goal,” said Dr. Natalia Kanem.

HRH The Countess of Wessex Calls for Support for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence – WAMM 2019

 

 

 

 

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