Traditional ideas about the roles of women restrict their contributions to Kenya’s economic and social empowerment. These old-fashioned ideas have for so many years held women back from contributing to important development goals; especially in the areas of education, social, political health and economic growth. Its high time that we need to embrace a change of mindset that will focus on growing the skill and talents of women that will lead to quality development.
Women in Kenya are underrepresented in decision-making positions and have for so many years been discountenanced. They were made to believe that their position is in the (Kitchen) at home thus they had less access to education, land (inheritance), employment and other women empowerment platforms. When I heard my mother’s story of how her dad denied her the opportunity to proceed with her O-levels, it breaks my heart. She is brilliant and strong-willed that if allowed to study, she would have impacted many. As the saying goes, ‘when you educate a girl, you educate a community’.
The untapped prospective of women and girls has gained greater attention in Kenya as they are tapping into fields perceived to be rather men driven. The current constitution passed in 2010, provides a powerful framework for addressing gender parity and equality. It marks the beginning of a new era for women’s rights in Kenya; pushing towards the remedy of the traditional ruling out of women and promote their full involvement in every aspect of decision making, economic growth, and development. This is the time to start looking at women inclusion and equality in terms of providing an enabling work environment that will sustain and improve their performance
For many years’ women were considered to have no right to own any property or land. Being that such possessions can be used as collateral to acquire a loan, yet they own now they are regarded too big a risk for a loan. These are some of the challenges of gender barriers that women still face today. Strengthening women’s access to resources and opportunities that will allow them to create new business opportunities, increase their participation in decision and policymaking at all levels of the economy, political and social is an ice breaker to these barriers. Let’s grow our women by allowing them to be in charge, own property and to make decisions.
Women are the drivers of Chama’s in Kenya. Women in Kenya are finding that there’s strength in coming together, and thus they pool their resources together in self-help groups of their formation, this has entirely changed the lives of many families and communities. Increasing women’s access to microfinance to empower and grow their business ideas is the opportune thing to do. Let’s allow our women to own and not to be owned, we need a paradigm shift that will make financial institutions women enabled and our companies to accommodate the needs of working women to boost their performance.
Women have a big impact on other people family, friends and colleagues. What would the future of Kenya look like if more women-led the latest innovations and sat on board, if we changed our business culture we will see different approaches, different inclusion? A more resilient, inclusive, sustainable and equitable Kenya is what we will see. Yes, as we raise awareness on women’s economic empowerment, it is very important that as women we make sustainability a way of doing things. Let us inculcate it in our DNA and create awareness around sustainable inclusive business practices. In our daily endeavors, at home in the office, businesses lets are the champions who drive the agenda of a positive impact on People, Planet and Profit.
Innovative ideas that will lead to the adoption of a new model of a circular economy that is not focused on taking, make and waste will grow our capital and make good use of our natural resources that are depleting at high speed. Growing practical and entrepreneurial skills in young women will lead to self-sustaining, motivated and economic women who intern will create sustainable people, Planet and profit for all. Create the right environment for women to play a big role in the economy because an enabling environment for women empowers a nation.
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Article By Pracksidis Wandera