The National Gender and Equality Commission joins the rest pf the world as we observe the International Women’s Day 2018. International Women's Day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action. For this reason, the Commission salutes all the hardworking women in Kenya and urges them continue pressing on for progress in line with this year’s theme.
Here in Kenya, the day provides an opportunity to reflect on the strides being made to empower women and other special interest groups to ensure they have an opportunity to make meaningful contribution to national development. As a monitoring institution tasked with the mandate of promoting gender equality and freedom from discrimination, we have observed the positive and deliberate measures put by government in a bid to empower women.
The Commission recognizes the tremendous progress made towards increasing representation of women in political and economic decision making positions, the provision of affirmative action funds aimed at empowering women and alleviating poverty. We commend both the national and county governments for the various initiatives to support women. These and other measures have contributed to empowerment of women in this country.
Ending discrimination however requires the collective effort of the duty bearers, decision makers, opinion leaders and an informed citizenry.
The economic benefits of inclusion and fair representation far outweigh the consequences of marginalization and discrimination. A society that gives equal opportunity to men, women, youth, persons with disabilities, minorities and marginalized communities reaps huge dividends in terms of Empowerment, Equity, Justice, Leadership, Participation, Prosperity, Reduced poverty, Stability, Transformation and Value for investments.
As we mark the International Women’s day, we remain cognizant that the National Assembly as currently constituted does not meet the constitutional threshold of two thirds gender principle. We have less than the required number of women in the National Assembly.
Parliament is required to pass laws that give effect to the provisions of the Constitution that guarantee equality, inclusion and fair representation. Members of parliament are the elected representatives of the people whose duty is to make and pass laws for the common good of the people.
We are asking our members of parliament to end discrimination by supporting and passing laws that empower men, women, youth, and persons with disabilities, minorities and marginalized groups. This can only happen when there is genuine political goodwill across the political divide.