Gender equality isn’t a competition but a unifying force for progress

What you need to know:

  • Annual reminders like International Women’s Day should help bridge the gender divide.
  • This year’s campaign theme ‘Inspire inclusion’ is the core of who the human race is.

I love writing this editorial, every March 8. I get a chance to remind us about the lack of gender equality.

Despite making up half of the population, women continue to face a sizeable gender gap. Annual reminders like International Women’s Day (IWD), thus, should help bridge this gender divide.

This year’s campaign theme ‘Inspire inclusion’ is the core of who the human race is.

An inclusive society means creating an environment where everybody feels a sense of belonging, and is empowered to contribute their best regardless of their gender.


The IWD theme underscores the significance of furnishing women with resources, opportunities to empower them, and advance gender parity faster.

Women should not just sit at the table, but their voices should be heard and their ideas leveraged. Indeed, women’s rights have made substantial progress since the Constitution took effect.

However, there is still a huge gender gap even though we have seen reforms that dismantled a wide array of barriers women and girls face at all stages of their lives.

Common good

Gender equality benefits everyone, it is not just a women’s issue. Investing in women’s empowerment cuts across all demographics.

For women and girls in rural areas, it means increasing access to education, healthcare, credit and agricultural resources. In urban areas, it means promoting their leadership.

Investing in women means tapping into the incredible potential they possess. We can only realise this vision through collaboration with men and boys.

Yet discussions on women’s empowerment are often framed as women vying to take over or diminish men’s roles.

 This mindset instils fear and opposition instead of positive engagement. The truth is that women’s empowerment is not equal to matriarchy, but rather uplifting all of humanity.

All hands on deck

We need men as allies; husbands can support their wives’ ambitions – think of the women politicians whose spouses have been their support system.

Most women leaders we have interviewed attribute their success to their husbands. Fathers, too, can raise sons to respect girls and women as equals.

Teachers can help dismantle gender stereotypes in schools. In the workplace, bosses can implement gender-inclusive policies and promote talented women.

Politicians can champion laws and budgets that invest in women and girls – think about the two-thirds gender rule.

It is understandable that some men may be apprehensive about investing in women. They may feel that this will shift the balance of power. When men are insecure about women’s advancement, we all lose.

Economic growth

Women’s participation in economic activities boosts household incomes and our national GDP. Their political leadership leads to more inclusive policies, while their education raises healthier, smarter future generations.

Having men as allies, therefore, does not mean they should renounce their rights and roles. They simply need to realise that gender equality isn’t a competition between the two genders, but a path that unites us and unlocks Kenya’s full potential.

No society can truly flourish with half its population feeling disadvantaged. Investing in women is an investment in accelerating Kenya’s overall progress. 

So, today, let’s reflect on women’s valuable contributions and join in collaborative efforts to accelerate their empowerment. 

This year’s IWD theme is a call for all hands on deck to tear down gender barriers and forge a more equitable, prosperous nation, together.

Happy IWD!