President Uhuru Kenyatta has reaffirmed his government’s commitment to achieving gender equality in Kenya. He was speaking at a ceremony at State House, Nairobi, celebrating women who are trailblazers in the society in various fields, including law, politics and education. The ceremony brought together leaders in government including Deputy President William Ruto, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Cabinet Secretaries, Governors Ann Waiguru, Charity Ngilu and other leaders. The occasion was also used to launch a memoir by Phoebe Asiyo-former parliamentarian and former United Development Fund for Women representative-titled ‘It is Possible’ detailing Kenya’s social, and political field through her lens.
Addressing guests at the function, President Kenyatta said good progress has been made in empowering women but the hard truth is that there still is more to be done to fully realize what women leaders have fought for throughout the years, “Inspired by their courage let’s consider what remains to be done,” he said. He admitted that women are yet to achieve full equality representation in business, politics and professions, “I reaffirm my administration’s commitment to equality that the constitution demands,” he noted.
The President outlined programs instituted to improve opportunities and development for women, “We have instituted a new policy reserving 30 percent of procurement to women, young people and the disabled,” he said, adding that the program has made a real difference for women in business. He said under the affirmative action funds, the government is providing access to financing and enterprising support to over three million women, youth and the disabled, and that half of the people who have benefitted are women.
On his part, Raila Odinga lauded the role played by Phoebe Asiyo, who established her parliamentary victory in a political field which was dominated by men. He said women have played major roles in the history of Kenya, highlighting the post-independence period. He urged leaders to write memoirs, and follow in the steps of Phoebe Asiyo. He said in South Africa, many people who went through the liberation struggle wrote books and that enabled a rich history to be preserved and passed down to succeeding generations. His sentiment was supported by President Kenyatta, who called for concerted efforts to ensure Kenyans write books to pass down valuable rich history and experiences.
The women feted include Ida Odinga, who was honoured with the Elder of the Golden Heart, Phoebe Asiyo Chief of the Burning Spear, Dr. Julia Ojiambo Chief of the Burning Spear, Lady Justice Joyce Aluoch an ICC judge, among others.