MUKENGA: I celebrate Kenyan women for being strong despite challenges

Activists in Mombasa protesting over increase in Sexual Gender Based Violence./FILE

International Women’s Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating Gender Parity.

This day was introduced in many countries by women demanding for the right to vote and short hours of work.

First women’s day conference was held on February 28, 1909 in New York, but March 8 was suggested by the 1910 International Woman’s Conference to become an “International Woman’s Day.

This day is also known as the [UN] United Nations Day for women’s right.

This year’s theme put up by the UN for International Women’s Day is ‘Time is now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives’.

According to the International Women’s Day website, this year, the theme is #PressForProgress. The theme comes in response to the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report which measured gender inequality.

According to the report, we are still 200 years away from gender parity.

But as we celebrate this day, women are still facing a lot of challenges; violent acts that are primarily or exclusively committed against women that need to be stopped.

A good example is the one that was highlighted by the media of Salome Kanini who is a victim of domestic violence. Her husband decided to set her on fire over domestic squabbles.

Lucy Njambi is also another victim of physical violence by her attackers who forced her to drink acid and left her for dead.

Also, in matters leadership, gender equality is yet to be achieved. Women have very little chances of leading the people compared to men, like the number of women appointed by the President in the cabinet is 6 compared to men who are 15.

As Mitchell Obama once said, “success is about the difference you make in peoples lives” there are many women leaders who have shown this, a good example being the late Wangari Mathai who inspired a lot of people to take care of the environment.

On the positive side, Kenya is celebrating some achievements in gender equality as for the first time 3 women were elected as governors during the 2017 August elections i.e. Charity Ngilu- Kitui, Anne Waiguru-Kirinyaga and Joyce Laboso- Bomet.

A number of women MPs also beat fellow male contenders in hotly contested seats, the likes of Mishi Mboko of Likoni and Aisha Jumwa of Malindi.

As we mark this day, we should remember to appreciate women around the world who have helped in the building of communities and fighting for women rights and gender equality.