Saturday, December 29, 2012

The year of the woman

PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES  Vivian Cheruiyot poses with her Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year trophy in the press room at the 2012 Laureus World Sports Awards at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on February 6, 2012 in London, England.

PHOTO/FILE Vivian Cheruiyot poses with her Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year trophy in the press room at the 2012 Laureus World Sports Awards at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on February 6, 2012 in London, England.   NATION MEDIA GROUP

By FELISTA WANGARI AND ABIGAIL ARUNGA

February

Vivian Cheruiyot is named the 2012 Laureus World Sportswoman of the year, receiving the premier honours in the international sporting calendar after failing to be named the IAAF female athlete of the year in 2012.

Queen Elizabeth II marks 60 years on the throne on the second day of this month. Her Diamond Jubilee celebrations continue throughout the year.

April

Joyce Banda is sworn in as the fourth president of Malawi, becoming the country’s first female head of State following the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika.

Beyoncé is named People Magazine’s Most Beautiful Person of the Year. The singer has 16 Grammys and is also an actress, wife, and mother.

May

The Kenya Prisons volleyball team wins the African Women’s Club Volleyball Championship for the second year running to represent Africa in the Volleyball Club World Championship.

A report released by WHO, Unicef, UNFPA, and the World Bank in May 2012 found that maternal deaths have significantly reduced, by half, in the past 20 years. Kenya’s maternal mortality rate, however, is still one of the highest in the world, at approximately 530 per 100,000 live births.

June

Gambian national, Fatou Bensouda, is elected to serve as the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

July

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa’s Home Affairs minister, becomes the first woman to be elected head of the African Union Commission, beating Gabon’s Jean Ping in a close contest.

Marissa Mayer is appointed first female Yahoo CEO while seven months pregnant, inspiring working mothers around the world.

The United Arab Emirates sends its first female weightlifter, Khadija Mohammad, to the Olympics. She was the second woman on the UAE Olympic team.

Kenyan women fail to impress at the Olympics, but manage to get silver in the 5,000 metres race and the marathon through Vivian Cheruiyot and Priscah Jeptoo respectively.

Gulf African Bank launches a women-only bank in Eastleigh, Nairobi, in line with Islamic principles.

August

Socially conscious Barb Stegemann creates a perfume line that gives income to farmers in war-torn areas. Her perfume, Vetiver of Haiti, won the Chatelaine 2012 Beauty 100 Award. Her other scents include Afghanistan Tree Blossom and Middle East Peace.

Mary Nakhumicha is awarded the Whang Youn Dai Achievement gold medal by the International Paralympic Committee for exemplifying the spirit of the Paralympics. She represented Kenya in javelin, shot put, and discus.

September

Saudi women will, for the first time, be allowed to vote and run in municipal elections in 2015. They are still not allowed to drive and require a male relative’s permission to work or leave the country.

October

Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza resigns from her position after many months of public outrage and dismay following accusations that she threatened a security guard with a gun. Her final words were, “Our country is bigger and greater than any one of us.”

Fourteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for defending the right of the girl child to education, is still alive, recuperating in a hospital in England. November 10 will now be celebrated as Malala Day, according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The International Day of the Girl was celebrated for the first time this year on October 12. It is a movement to speak out against gender bias and advocate girls’ rights everywhere.

November

The Marriage Bill caused an uproar with the suggestion that anyone living with a woman for more than six months would be considered legally married to her. The part that everyone missed, though, was that the memo had not been passed into law and is yet to be debated in Parliament.

Nairobi lawyer Jackie Janmohamed makes history when she is elected the chairperson of Cricket Kenya, becoming the first woman in the world to head a national cricket body.

Thirty-three out of 74 lay members of the Church of England’s General Synod vote against legislation to allow female bishops in the church.

Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland is consecrated the first female Anglican bishop in Africa.

December

Swazi women risk arrest if they wear miniskirts or tops that expose part of the stomach, in measures that the government says are meant to stop women from provoking rape.

A Kenya Institute of Management study reveals that women occupy only 54 of the 449 seats on the boards of the firms listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, compared to 20 per cent in State-owned firms.

Mormon women dare to wear trousers to church. There is no official policy barring women from wearing trousers, but it is usually frowned upon and women are expected to wear dresses to church.

Kenya’s Supreme Court advises that the affirmative action clause for elective posts (two-thirds rule) be implemented progressively, starting by August 2015, dealing a blow to women, who were hoping to gain from it starting 2013.

Women’s representative seats in Parliament – Women will for the first time have specific women voted in as their representatives in Parliament in March 2013.

Sixty-year-old Park Geun-hye is elected South Korea’s first female president in a hotly contested election. The world currently has the highest number of female presidents ruling simultaneously (20).

Women are set to benefit from the Marriage Bill, which will be debated in Parliament, because it defines the rights of spouses in marriage and levels the ground for both spouses.

Another Bill expected is the Matrimonial Property Bill, which will give women equal rights to property acquired during marriage.

A blast from every girl’s past: the Spice Girls’ Musical, Viva Forever opens in London’s West End.

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