There have been various efforts across the globe to promote Gender equality and promote the rights of women most crucially for equal contribution, distribution and access to opportunities between women and men to every dimension of life.
While we know that gender parity will not happen overnight, the good news is that across the world women are making positive gains day by day.
There’s indeed a very strong and growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support.
This year’s theme is “Press for Progress” and brings together global governments, women’s organizations, businesses and charities together under the banner of International Women’s Day.
It is a strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.
Despite notable progress on closing gender gaps over the past 20 years, women have less access to jobs, are more likely to take low-quality employment, and face barriers to management positions, according to the United Nations labor report.
Altogether, for every 10 men in a job, only six women are employed.
“Despite the progress achieved and the commitments made to further improvement, women’s prospects in the world of work are still a long way from being equal to men’s,” said Deborah Greenfield, ILO Deputy Director-General for Policies.
“Whether it is about access to employment, wage inequality or other forms of discrimination, we need to do more to reverse this persistent, unacceptable trend by putting in place policies tailored to women, also taking into account the unequal demands that they face in household and care responsibilities,” she added.
Given that women already play such fundamental roles and in Kenya constitute a population of slightly over 50 percent, it is of grave necessity that she be involved in achieving Vision 2030 goals, and more importantly, actualizing national development.
Over the years Kenya has made great strides towards promoting and increasing women’s participation in national development across the economic, political and social sectors.
The government’s key goal within the Vision 2030 regarding women has been to reduce gender disparities by making fundamental changes in four areas, namely: opportunity, empowerment, capabilities and vulnerabilities.
Coming from a background where the majority of her culture has been male-dominated, Kenya is fast emerging in bridging the gap and allowing women to put their best foot forward. This has been best demonstrated in education, leadership and entrepreneurship.
The 2016 report of the African Human Development Index, HDI, ranked Kenya 18 in Africa and 145 globally in advancing gender equality. Moreover, during the 2016 Assembly for Women Conference, Kenya was awarded for doing well in ensuring that education for the girl child was given priority and in recognizing women in politics.
The statistics echoed that education continues to play an important role as a foundation for girls’ development towards adult life.
Through marches of solidarity, viral social media campaigns, cultural efforts and powerful grassroots organizing, people across the world are galvanizing for a future that is gender equal.
While some of these movements have captured the headlines, other efforts persevere far away from the limelight.
Rural and urban activists continue to mobilize, disrupt the status quo and influence a broad range of policy, legislative and social reforms, from founding projects to end violence at the workplace to providing access to services for ethnic, immigrant and minority women, working every day to leave no one behind.
Speaking during the commemoration of International Women’s Day, UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said that it is known that healthy societies include a wide mix of voices, yet millions of women around the world continue being silenced and their potential cramped.
“The current solidarity movements have to be a tipping point for accountability; an end to impunity and the cyclical poverty of women in both rural and urban areas. Lively political activism from both men and women must target change for those who need it most,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
Today, gender inequality is rife: 1 in 3 women experience violence in their lifetime; 830 women die every day from preventable pregnancy-related causes; only 1 in 4 parliamentarians worldwide are women. It will be 2086 before we close the gender pay gap if present trends continue with no action.