What you need to know:
- . Underpinning this is the fact that gender equality and women’s empowerment are critical for peaceful and prosperous society.
- Just about 30 per cent of women, aged between 15 and 49 are empowered.
The debate about gender equality and women’s empowerment has consumed the minds of policy makers at the international and national levels for decades. Underpinning this is the fact that gender equality and women’s empowerment are critical for peaceful and prosperous society. It is a moral and human right imperative.
Kenya has developed multiple policy and legal instruments to institutionalise gender equity and women empowerment.
The Constitution provides a solid basis for realisation of gender equality. Various articles make express demands on gender balance, key among them need for equitable representation in elective and appointive positions.
Equally, the Bill of Rights articulates an elaborate framework for equality. A significant pronouncement of the Constitution is requirement of at least one-third representation at every level of governance. Instructively, the Constitution created 47 elective position of Women Representatives, which ostensibly, seeks to raise women’s voice in Parliament.
Undesirably, though, some of the propositions remain unrealised. The National Assembly, for example, is grappling with the one-third gender rule with women MPs constituting just 22 per cent.
There are only two female governors out of 47. The only solace is at the Senate, where women constitute 31 per cent, and County Assemblies, at 34 per cent of members.
This week, the Gender ministry, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and Unicef released a report entitled “Women’s Empowerment in Kenya” highlighting the level of women’s participation and enjoyment of their rights.
It uses parameters like human and social resources, household decision-making, control over sexual relations, socio-cultural norms and economic abilities to determine the level of empowerment.
The findings are alarming. Just about 30 per cent of women, aged between 15 and 49 are empowered. This is sobering and calls for action by the government and the political leadership.