The International Womenâ€™s day begun as a protest on the working conditions of female textile workers. But those are not the only struggles that women in history have faced so the movement became bigger, it spread across countries and then continents and gradually, what had started as a protest turned into a celebration of women and their accomplishments; political, economic and social.
Not to be confused with Motherâ€™s Day, the International Womenâ€™s Day is marked annually on the 8th of March every year since 1914. Now, while in some places the day has lost some of itâ€™s political power and it is taken as a day like Valentines; where men take the time to appreciate the women in their lives- The United Nations has undertaken to see that this day never goes into extinction.
The UNâ€™s 2015 International Womenâ€™s Day theme is, â€˜Make it happenâ€™ The theme basically emphasizes on a womanâ€™s right to choose, right to educate, right to earn a livelihood and mobilize the woman to fight for her equal status in the society. This theme runs concurrently with the UNâ€™s 2015 Human Right theme; â€˜Make it happenâ€™; both of which go on to show how central empowerment is to the International Womenâ€™s Day.
Seeing as we are celebrating the day today, why not look at the Kenyan womanâ€™s accomplishment from over the years?
Kenya boasts of having birthed Africaâ€™s first female Nobel Laureate, the Late Wangari Maathai, our women have access to basic education thanks to the introduction of free education which has seen the number of girls falling prey to FGM and early marriages decrease in the years. Access to free maternal care is another recent win for the Kenyan woman. Legislation has also seen the number of women employed in firms and government increase.
Then the Kenyan woman has taken it upon herself to make life better not just for her but for others as well. Case in point; the First Ladyâ€™s Beyond Zero Campaign that aims to raise maternal health awareness, there are numerous mentorship programmes ran by women for women such as the â€˜Eve Sistersâ€™ women empowerment forum, then tere is the former Miss Kenya that has devoted has life to jigger eradication and so many others.
While all these are positive, what I am most happy with is the new constitution that has allowed Kenyan women to own and inherit land. This might seem like a trivial thing, but culture had previously inhibited women from inheriting property. Having this corrected through the constitution is just a start though.
There is a gap in access to information and justice for the ordinary woman in Kenya.
For an ordinary woman living in rural Kenya; she might have heard of the new constitution but never really been able to interpret it in the five years itâ€™s been here- maybe she doesnâ€™t even own a copy, or access to information on the same.
Granting of human rights on paper will always be a single (weak) step until the Kenyan woman is fully empowered. Until that housewife learns that her husband has no right to sexually violate her just because he is her husband, until girls in rural Kenya stop missing class because they lack access to sanitary towels or worse, drop off to school because they were impregnated by tribal warriors (who have no intention to marry/support them) then the Kenyan womanâ€™s accomplishment are not enough, are far from enoughâ€¦
And to those that complain that too much attention is being paid to the empowerment of the girl child with neglect to the boy child; I say the girl child isnâ€™t even close to being as empowered as she ought to be so quit whining and empower those who (in your complains) you think deserve empowerment.