What you need to know:
- Behind every successful man is a woman, goes the saying; an assertion I do not dispute.
- It is also true that behind most successful women are fathers who supported them through their life journey.
Behind every successful man is a woman, goes the saying; an assertion I do not dispute. It is also true that behind most successful women are fathers who supported them through their life journey. My late father fits this bill.
While everybody else told me I should dress up, learn how to cook, do household chores and eventually become a good wife to my future husband, he reminded me of the importance of doing something with my life.
To him, a solid education was the key to my independence. He saw a future district officer (DO) in me. This was a very powerful government position in the 90s. He took me through school and always encouraged me to “aim high”.
It’s because of his words that I grew up believing that I could achieve anything. When I eventually became a high school teacher, not the DO he had hoped for, he remained proud of me. I will forever be grateful for him. He raised me to be a strong and independent woman.
Like my late father, many men today support women’s and girls’ empowerment. I am a believer that women won’t achieve equality unless men actively work to challenge patriarchal norms.
Gender equality has been a persistent issue that has plagued societies for centuries. Women have been systematically excluded from opportunities and denied basic rights, leading to their marginalisation in various spheres of life.
This inequality is an expression of deeply entrenched systemic discrimination based on unequal power relations, and men have the most important role in dismantling it.
Men who actively promote the rights and interests of women understand that gender equality is not a battle between the sexes, but a collective effort to end societal barriers.
They recognise that an inclusive society that uplifts women benefits everyone. We need them in the equation because men make up about half of our population.
At the moment, they hold most leadership positions in all key areas such as the Executive, Parliament, economic decision-making, and media, among many others.
It is because of male allies that Kenya has witnessed growth in the number of women holding key positions, including in government, politics and corporates.
More women today are able to build their businesses, thanks to special financing tools specially crafted for them. The list goes on and on.
It is thus critical to recognise and celebrate male allies and their invaluable contributions. Their commitment and advocacy play a pivotal role in creating a more inclusive and equitable society. They have defied stereotypes.
I also have to point out those who are vocal about gender parity, but their commitment to the cause is not reflected in their actions. Please join this fight and help us achieve true gender parity.
This week we celebrate 60 of the many Kenyan men who recognise how gender equality benefits them and wider society.