Empower women to fight rising poverty

The theme of the International Women’s Day (IWD) observed on Friday underlines the key role this gender plays in family, community, national and global development. The United Nations is leading this year’s celebration under the banner, ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress.

It is obvious that you cannot downplay the potential of nearly half of the population and still hope to get the best in whatever field. However, women continue to play second fiddle by not being fully integrated into the key decision making positions.

This is even more poignant in our country, where a constitutional requirement that no one gender should occupy more than two thirds of all the elective and appointive positions, has proved elusive for more than a decade, with a record 10 failed attempts to implement it.

President William Ruto says his administration is committed to breaking the deadlock and ensuring that women are effectively represented in leadership positions, including in his UDA party. It is, of course, easier said than done when it comes to decisions that have huge political implications.

The UN believes that investing in women can spark change and speed up the transition towards a healthier, safer, and more equal world for all. This day celebrates the achievements of women in various fields, including politics, science, literature and the arts. It is an opportunity to not just advocate gender equality, but also to empower women to strive for their rights and goals.

Some progress has been made but there is still a lot of room to enable the reduction of the high levels of poverty among women, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

To enhance women's participation in economic development and progress, they require greater access to education, credit, and supportive business environments. This is hampered by traditional obstacles such as lack of collateral, including land title deeds to enable them to access loans.

Empowering women is the solution to the soaring poverty levels as they are more likely to use their earnings to improve their families.