Monday, 21 June 2021 16:46

CSW MASHINANI EMPOWERS WOMEN ON LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE

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The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a transformative women leadership programme aimed at promoting gender equality and women empowerment. The forum, which brings together stakeholders in the gender sector, takes place in New York every year. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Council of Governors in Partnership with County Assemblies Forum (CAF) localized the CSW meeting by convening a forum dubbed 'CSW Mashinani' between 18th and 19th May 2021 at Sunshine Hotel in Kericho County. The 65th session of CSW was held under the priority theme; 'Women's full and effective participation and decision making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls.
The CSW Mashinani programme forum sought to; enhance leadership capacities and skills of women leaders at the County level through training, provide a platform to evaluate and take stock of the achievements made through the transformative leadership curriculum as well as determine mechanisms of ensuring women's continued and sustained participation and influence in various governance positions. Speaking during the event, the chief guest H.E Prof. Paul Chepkwony, Governor Kericho County emphasized the need for women to take up leadership roles to ensure the advancement of this county.
“When women are empowered, the whole society is empowered,” he said. While Kenya has made tremendous progress in the number of women holding both elective and appointive leadership positions, the concept of gender parity in participation and decision-making in public life is still elusive. Lack of information on women empowerment initiatives compounded with ineffective policy development prevents women from making significant contributions to the development agenda. Further, there are glaring policy and legislative gaps that hamper women's effective participation in political spaces. Case in point, the two-thirds gender rule is not observed across all arms of government whereas sections of the Political Parties Act are yet to be implemented.
In her remarks, Kericho County Deputy Governor called for synergy on gender equality programmes aimed at empowering women at all levels of government and articulated the need to sensitize women from the counties on the National Government initiatives on women empowerment e.g. the WEF and the Affirmative Action Fund.
For women to take up and occupy leadership and decision-making positions, they need to focus on creating resourceful and strategic partnerships that will work for them. Prof. Senator Kamar– Senate Deputy Speaker urged women leaders to deliberately create coalitions and networks across the gender sector to ensure their success in politics. “As women, we have to come together. We have to focus on creating resourceful and strategic partnerships among ourselves and our male Counterparts that will work for us and benefit us, she said.
The CSW Mashinani Forum arrived at a number of resolutions. First, it was recommended that women leaders pursue elective positions as opposed to nominative positions and engage in lobbying activities for amendment of timelines contained in various elections legal frameworks. To address the issue of lack of awareness concerning women empowerment programmes, capacity building interventions should be implemented to ensure that women leaders are informed about the existing National Government programmes on women empowerment.
Gender mainstreaming has been embraced internationally as a strategy towards realizing gender equality. Women leaders in partnership with their male counterparts need to ensure gender is mainstreamed in the outputs generated including Bills, Policies, Plans and Budgets.
Women are the primary drivers of growth and economic development in society. They also play a crucial role in the achievement of the SDGs and the realization of Kenya's big four agenda. When women participate in leadership, Counties and communities tend to reposition empowerment, resource distribution and redistribution, creation and sharing of opportunities and as well as re-define power-sharing and utilization.
There is a need for collective reflection on what more can be done to ensure that all women, including those facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, can participate in decision-making.
Among other dignitaries in attendance were H.E Lily Ng'ok, Deputy Governor for Kericho County, the Senate Deputy Speaker, Prof. Sen. Margaret Kamar, the State Department of Gender Affairs, KNBS, the CoG Secretariat, County Assemblies Women Caucus, Registrar of political parties and County women leaders drawn from all the 47 counties among other key players in the Gender sector.
Among other dignitaries in attendance were H.E Lily Ng'ok, Deputy Governor for Kericho County, the Senate Deputy Speaker, Prof. Sen. Margaret Kamar, the State Department of Gender Affairs, KNBS, the CoG Secretariat, County Assemblies Women Caucus, Registrar of political parties and County women leaders drawn from all the 47 counties among other key players in the Gender sector

 

 

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