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Boys and girls deserve equal opportunities

Sunday April 14 2019

GENDER EQUALITY

Maendeleo ya Wanaume chairman Nderitu Njoka campaigns against neglect of male children, in Nyeri on March 14, 2017. It is time to do things in such a way that we empower both the Kenyan boy and girl. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DOMINIC WAMUGUNDA
By DOMINIC WAMUGUNDA
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A few weeks ago, I was in a group of friends who have a common interest.

We started discussing one government institution in which quite a number of those friends have an affiliation with. They kept saying that women dominate all key positions.

I had never thought about it, and initially I did not agree with them. They however named the said women and I could not argue with their data.

Since they were so agitated, I chose to challenge them on what they thought the reason for this situation was.

Serious arguments were aired by the various people – mainly men – that were in that group. Some of the fellows were quite angry about the whole arrangement.

PREPAREDNESS

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One senior citizen and myself were on one side of the argument while the others were advancing a different one.

What was the argument? My side argued that the government has the duty and right to appoint whoever they think is qualified for the job - whether male or female.

The other side did not agree with that. They brought up a dimension that some of us had not observed.

That is when the two of us older men started understanding the point.

Quite clearly, younger women are better prepared for bigger things than young men.

It brought memories of my experience dealing with students looking for support for their activities at the place where I work.

EMPOWERED

I can confirm – without any doubt - that girls tend to have more confidence than the boys. Why? Back to our argument.

We traced the origin of the women empowerment programme and one of us remembered the Beijing conference of 1985 that set the agenda for the next few decades.

It was agreed by all of us that since then, things have never been the same again.

One of the Millennium Development Goals was to focus on the development and empowerment of women.

Since then, there has been a lot of concentration on the welfare of the girl child with very little mention of the boy child. It is true that in many places the woman had been left behind or even ignored.

BALANCE

The reaction to this has been the concentration on the girl child. It should not be a surprise then when we see several women in leadership positions.

However, it is time to do things in such a way that we empower both the Kenyan boy and girl.

In the meantime, thank you very much for reading this column over the years. It will be suspended for a while but will come back in another format.

Fr Wamugunda is the dean of students and sociology lecturer at the University of Nairobi. [email protected]

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