Kenya’s 60! Let’s celebrate our strides
Kenya turned 60 years old yesterday. For the women and girls of Kenya, this was a day to pause and reflect on their accomplishments from 1963. The 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census said women comprise 50.5 per cent of the total population. Nevertheless, their representation across wellbeing indicators is not equal to the men’s. Over the years, however, their status has progressed, considerably, beyond the situation at Independence. The government adopted women’s empowerment through several articles in the 2010 Constitution. While progress in the policy and legislative frameworks has been remarkable, implementation has faced myriad challenges, resulting in slow progress in closing the gender gap and enhancing women’s empowerment in all spheres. In its 2020 Global Gender Gap rankings, the World Economic Forum places Kenya at position 109 out of 153 countries. All the same, the country has marked general improvement on equity across all social, economic and political indicators of development. Women’s representation in the legislature has improved over the past six decades. The many women leaders committed to agitating for women’s rights are an indicator that achieving gender equality is not a pipe dream. Kenya@60, therefore, gives us an opportunity to appreciate the opportunities women have, and to continue discussing issues that have yet to be resolved. There is no doubt that Kenyan women are making big moves in various sectors. They are heading corporates, they are at the top of their game in media and business, as well as in professions that were once male-dominated. They are shining in academia, the legal fraternity, medicine, entertainment and farming, among many others. They have been the brains behind incredible advances in technology and have been at the forefront in climate change, influencing not only women but men, too. But, while we celebrate their bold moves over the years, there is still work to be done. Women continue to face challenges as they strive to make their mark in their respective fields, yet their empowerment is about ultimately elevating society as a whole. Today, however, instead of dwelling on the negatives, I celebrate women who have challenged the status quo – the movers and shakers of Kenya at 60. Kenyan women have indeed come a long way in the past 60 years, but a case can be made for them to go even further. We celebrate women who made, and continue to make, history, those leaving their mark in Kenya’s story, the astounding women out there. We celebrate all those doing their part, every day, to make our lives better. Happy 60th!