Why Women's Day should be celebrated everyday
The inclusion of women in all key aspects of society are what will shape the girl child who will be the women we will celebrate every day.
This year was no different as women and men in Kenya came together to celebrate the day where we recognize the progress women have made over the years.
Despite it being past the 8th of March, we are pushing to celebrate women in Kenya and the world over for the progress they have made on themselves or the society, do you know anyone who has? This year’s theme was #PressForProgress and we at Pulselive.co.ke are going with #PressForProgressKE.
It is 7am on a Tuesday morning. I am seated in a lobby of the place where I am to take a driving test on a lorry. The weather is cold and I cannot help but clasp my hands together on my laps hoping this will bring me the warmth to even take this test.
Next to me sits a man aged probably 25 or thereabout, I can tell from his trendy shoes and the music coming off his earphones. In his hands he has a copy of the highway codes of Kenya, part of what the driving test will cover. He skims through the pages with the intent to cram the contents of whatever is on the page as though he has a super photographic memory.
I clear my throat, “hey, sasa(hello)? What’s the highway code for a major road?” I ask, with the intent of getting it in my system myself: he looks at me like I have bothered him and hands me the book.
I take it and turn the pages to seek an answer to my question. “What kind of car are you using for your test today?” he asks.
“A lorry” I reply, a little bit proud of myself.
“Oh, is it manual?”
“Yes they all are, I hear.”
“Mhh mdem utaweza kuendesha a manual lorry?” he chuckles. (Can a lady manage to drive lorry that uses a manual gear?)
I keep quiet and return the book to its macho owner.
Press For Progress
In the traditional African home setup, most women were expected to stay at home and tend to the family, it was our mothers and aunties duties to make sure we were raised proper, taught how to sit as cultured ladies, taught how to “carry ourselves” as women and girls in the society, how to fetch water, prepare the home for our possible suitors in the future.
Far off in the west, we can trace the 19th Amendment in the United States of America’s constitution which was passed by the USA congress in June 4th 1919 where women for the first time were allowed to vote.
The first election in the USA was conducted in February 1, 1877.
A woman getting the right to vote in 1919 was a step that took 42 years for women to have the right to participate in a process that did affect them and where their say mattered.
This relentless pushing for progress has not stopped until September 2017, when the Saudi government allowed women to drive cars ending a longstanding policy that has become a global symbol of the oppression of women in the conservative kingdom.
Although the change, which will take effect in June 2018, it is a step in the right direction, do you agree?
The following is an excerpt from the New York Times when they interviewed a Saudi woman after the ban on women driving was lifted.
“It is amazing,” said Fawziah al-Bakr, a Saudi university professor who was among 47 women who participated in the kingdom’s first protest against the ban — in 1990. After driving around the Saudi capital, Riyadh, the women were arrested and some lost their jobs.
“Since that day, Saudi women have been asking for the right to drive, and finally it arrived,” she said by phone. “We have been waiting for a very long time.”
Kenya's gender politics
Kenya has since marked eight years since the promulgation of the Constitution (2010) - which is hailed as one of the best across the globe due to some of its provisions on gender equality such as Article 27(3) which states that ‘women and men have the right to equal treatment, including the right to equal opportunities in political, economic, cultural and social spheres’
From the Heinrich Böll Stiftung East & Horn of Africa report; It states that according to the Independent, Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Six women have made history in Kenya for being the first women to win seats as governors and senators since the promulgation of the 2010 constitution.
Three women won gubernatorial seats which have always been won by men. Another three women won seats in the 68-member Senate, making them the first women to be elected in the lower house of parliament Kenya’s women representation in parliament also increased by six from 16 in 2013 to 22 in the 2017 elections.
Only one woman contested for presidency out of seven men and she performed dismally. The presence and visibility of women in the political process in Kenya is very important if the gender agenda is to make headways
Such socio-economic progress in Kenya and beyond, the inclusion of women in matters governance, finance, economy and all key aspects of society are what will shape the girl child who will be the women we will celebrate every day.
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