Calls for equality, end to domestic violence dominate women’s day

Friday March 08 2019

Mombasa residents commemorate International Women's Day on March 8, 2019 by campaigning for an end to violence against women. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The country on Friday celebrated the International Women’s Day with calls for more empowerment of the womenfolk and tighter measures against domestic violence.

In Mombasa, women leaders demanded that the government declares domestic violence against women a national emergency by March 30.

Likoni MP Mishi Mboko said women should be given equal chances as men.

“We are past two-third representation. We now demand for 50/50 representation,” Ms Mboko said.

They asked the government to stop appointing men accused of perpetrating domestic violence to powerful positions.

“Political parties should discipline all members accused of gender-based violence in line with Chapter Six of the Constitution and expel them too,” they said.



A representative from Haki Africa, Wevyn Muganda, told journalists that violence against women has been normalised and is escalating due to the systemic power structures favouring men.

“Women’s hands are being chopped off, expectant mothers beaten to death, children defiled, bodies dumped in dams with no consequences to the perpetrators,” Ms Muganda said.


Women in Nairobi campaign against rising cases of femicide, during International Women's Day on March 8, 2019. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Tana River Governor Dhadho Godhana, who led the celebrations in his county, said women deserve to be appreciated because they are “the mothers of the nation and their resilience is beyond reproach”.

In Nairobi, female employees of the Nation Media Group were feted and counselled on how to handle their careers and personal responsibilities.

During a breakfast meeting for all women employees at The Emory Hotel, women who have risen through the ranks to top management positions - including Daily Nation Executive Editor Pamella Sittoni, Saturday Nation Editor Wayua Muli and Kisumu and Nakuru regional editors Caroline Wafula and Stella Cherono - were recognised.


NMG Chief Executive Officer Stephen Gitagama said women in the workforce have more integrity and are more reliable.

He attributed the recent promotion of women at NMG to merit, and not gender.

"Women are the power of all these men you see around," Mr Gitagama said, and committed to increase the number of women employees from the current 29 percent to 35 percent by 2020.

Speaking at the event, Trends and Insights for Africa Research founder Maggie Ireri said a large disparity exists between the number of women in senior management roles and the pay they get compared to their male counterparts.

She said that a global survey showed that only 27 percent of women hold top jobs in the media. She revealed that the statistics are worse in Kenya.

She also found that men are better paid because they negotiate harder for better pay packages.


NMG senior human resources manager Jane Muiruri said the company is working towards making the organisation more friendly to young families.

Kenya Commercial Bank affirmed its commitment to gender parity by starting a campaign geared towards equality and inclusion.

Under the hashtag #HearHerRoar, the campaign was rolled out in six East African countries, following its launch in Nairobi.

According to the bank’s chief executive officer, Joshua Oigara, the bank is keen to deepen its focus towards the women agenda in the coming years for a gender-balanced world.


In Kakamega County, the International Women's Day was celebrated at St Martin's Primary School for the deaf in Mumias on March 8, 2019. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In New York, Carter Centre, an election monitoring group founded by former US President Jimmy Carter, urged Kenyan lawmakers to pass the two-thirds gender law as required by Kenya’s Constitution in a legal brief in the run up to the day.


The Centre also called on the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties to enforce compliance with Article 27(8) of Kenya's 2010 Constitution, which stipulates that no more than two-thirds of members elected or appointed public bodies shall be of the same gender.

In Nakuru, women from the Ogiek community joined their counterparts from the county in marking their day’s celebrations at the Nakuru West social hall for the first time.

Nakuru Woman Representative Liza Chelule urged women to fight for leadership positions.

Reports by Farhiya Hussein, John Mario, Agewa Magut, Winfrey Owino, Kevin Rotich and Kevin J Kelley in New York