The promulgation of the Kenya Constitution 2010 has seen great strides made towards gender parity as today women have equal rights with men. There are more women in leadership roles at the corporate, entrepreneurial and political levels than before.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAid) has provided major assistance to the process of empowering women to exercise their rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.
Here is a list of some of the phenomenal women in Kenya who have sacrificed their lives and careers to ensure Kenya is a safe place for women and children;
Dr. Prabha Choksey
Dr. Prabha Choksey is an award-winning ophthamologist at the Aga Khan Hospital whose love for children started a very long time ago. She has set aside Tuesday, a day to treat children with albinism only and for free. “God created each of us for a purpose in life. My purpose is caring for children with albinism,” she says.
She describes children as wet clay soil which can be moulded into sundry shapes. A child is a person who is potential to become anybody including a President, she believes.
Faith Wafula is a Gender Programme Officer at Strategic Applications International (SAI) and an avid proponent of the protection of women and children’s rights. Wafula launched the SEMA –Mapenzi Bila Chuki programme; ‘Speak out-love without hate’, which raises awareness on Gender-Based Violence (GBV)
Grace Lolim is an outspoken Isiolo based peace advocate who believes that North Eastern Kenyan communities should get their chance at community based judicial systems for peace to be realized in the region.
Grace Lolim off Peace Link in Isiolo has been able to push for the formation of a peace committee involving the Council of Elders and leaders from both communities, a move that was facilitated by the intervention of Isiolo North Member of Parliament.
Lolim who is also a member of District Peace Committee in Isiolo North District says she is often braved by cries from victims of violence in Isiolo who accuse the legal system of ‘soft treatment’ towards perpetrators of violence.
Brittanie Richardson founded Art and Abolition, a Kenyan movement that rescues and houses survivors of sexual slavery.
Here, survivors are counselled to speed up healing and rehabilitation through different forms of art. Her objective extend to the survivors’ communities.
Using her campaign, Beyond Zero, she has galvanised the nation into mobilising resources to save the lives of women, girls and children.
She launched First Lady Marathon as an initiative that takes place at the beginning of every March.
The marathon is aimed at creating awareness and mobilising resources to fund Beyond Zero activities.
The first fully kitted mobile clinic was launched in July 2014.
Meet Dr Kakenya Ntaiya, a Kenyan schools entrepreneur and international women’s rights advocate, who believes that early marriage and female circumcision deny children as young as nine years the opportunity to have an education and take charge of their lives.
Dr Kakenya Ntaiya has set up a school for girls in Kenya and a foundation to draw attention to the dangers of child marriage and female circumcision.
Ms Judith Owigar is a 30-year-old social entrepreneur and co-founder of Akirachix . Remember that lady who sat between President Obama and President Uhuru Kenyatta during the GES Summit?
Akirachix is a program that was established in 2010 as a community where Judith and other co-founders could come together, work on different solutions and share knowledge especially in IT where women were underrepresented. The centre has been and is still offering training to women in technology and slowly changing lives.
Wangari Maathai was the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. She authored four books: The Green Belt Movement; Unbowed: A Memoir; The Challenge for Africa; and Replenishing the Earth
She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her actions to promote sustainable development, democracy and peace.
Maathai’s mobilisation of African women was not limited in its vision to work for sustainable development; she saw tree-planting in a broader perspective which included democracy, women’s rights, and international solidarity. In the words of the Nobel Committee: “She thinks globally and acts locally.”