International Women’s Day has been celebrated for more than 100 years by honouring the achievements of women globally.
Kenya joined the rest of the world yesterday to mark the day whose theme, "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world” aims at acknowledging women and girls’ efforts in shaping a more equal future and recovery from Covid-19.
The Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) launched an empowerment programme to encourage more women to get involved in the oil and gas sector, as well as propel their agenda.
Speaking during the launch at Kenpipe Plaza in Nairobi, KPC Managing Director Macharia Irungu said the programme has been conceptualised to inspire female staff to realise their potential. Dr Irungu appealed to female employees to take advantage of the programme and initiate equal representation in leadership positions. He noted that there still exists challenges of inequality locally and globally that need to be addressed.
“We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. Collectively, we can create an inclusive world,” he added.
He called on KPC employees to drop the gender lenses through which a majority view the world and instead evaluate people from the perspective of their competence and contribution, noting that this would go a long way in giving equal opportunities.
The MD challenged the female staff who currently constitute less than one-third of the company’s workforce to take advantage of leadership opportunities by embracing new challenges and striving to stand out through exemplary performance.
KPC Chairperson Rita Okuthe, the first woman in that position, observed that women are the cornerstone under which noble societal happenings rotate.
She commended the government for setting up the Women Enterprise Fund, the Universal Healthcare programme and the affirmative action plan on procurement to better the lives of women. Ms Okuthe revealed that KPC has exceeded the constitutional two-thirds gender rule requirement in appointment of its senior managers. Currently, of the eight members of the company’s executive committee, four are women. Similarly, out of the company’s 1,700 members, 524 are women.
Car dealership firm DT Dobie also joined the celebrations with an announcement that the company will take all its female truck drivers through a three-day advance driving course. The course will see the drivers advance their driving skills and familiarise themselves with recent updates in the vehicle technology. DT Dobie Customer Relationship Manager Halima Ahmed said the three-day training will combine driving and theory lessons, with focus on vehicle features, fuel efficient driving, professionalism and safe driving.
“Since technology changes rapidly, refresher courses are necessary for different models.”
She said the drivers will, on the third day, take a truck on the road to put into practice all the aspects learnt in the theory class.
Mombasa marked the day with Likoni MP Mishi Mboko urging women to accept tasks and be ready to vie for leadership positions. During celebrations held at Miritini grounds, women expressed their desire for more leadership positions in the county and national governments.
“The BBI will open opportunities for our women, it will create more positions that us women need to grab without hesitation. We should stand firm and fight for our chances...” said Ms Mboko.
Mombasa Woman Rep Asha Hussein expressed her desire to see more women taking positions in government. In Tana River County, women marked the day by donating blood. The exercise spearheaded by Lands Executive Mwanajuma Hiribae attracted more than 30 women from Hola Town in solidarity with patients at Hola Referral Hospital. Ms Mwanajuma said the exercise is part of affirming the responsibilities and nature of a woman in society.
"This is what the woman is all about, to bring forth life, to nurture and care for, so we are just extending that grace to others regardless of gender," she said.
In Kirinyaga, Governor Anne Waiguru called on more women to vie for political seats in the 2022 elections. She stressed that women make better leaders and should not shy away from seeking elective positions.
“My hope is that we have 15 female governors come the next elections and 50 per cent women MPs...," she said.
In Uasin Gishu, Kenya Red Cross County Co-ordinator Alice Njari called on the relevant agencies to ensure victims of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence get justice.
Additional reporting by George Munene, Stephen Oduor, Ibrahim Musungu and Onyango K’ Onyango