Devolution and Planning Ministries Speeches

Delivering the women agenda

SPEECH BY MS. ANNE WAIGURU, OGW, CABINET SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF DEVOLUTION AND PLANNING, DURING THE LAUNCH OF THE NATIONAL ACTION PLAN ON KENYA WOMEN’S CHARTER, 26TH –FEBRUARY, 2015 AT KASARANI, NAIROBI

 “Delivering the Women’s Agenda; Beyond the Written”

 Your Excellency’s Ambassadors and High Commissioners,

Honorable Members of Parliament present,
County Executive Officers,
The UN fraternity,
Representatives of the various Organizations present,
Facilitators and Resource Persons,
Distinguished Guests,

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 It gives me great pleasure to be with you here today, and to preside over the launch the National Action Plan of the Kenya National Women’s Charter. I wish to commend the Mwamko Mpya Uongozi Bora Initiative and each of its constituent organizations for bringing together stakeholders from government, non-governmental organizations, development partners as well as women leaders and aspiring leaders to this National Women’s Conference which has been convened under the theme “Delivering the Women’s Agenda: Beyond the Written”.’

I note that the National Action Plan has been developed within the context of Kenya’s present socio-economic, cultural, political and environmental situation and with the aspirations of Kenya’s women in mind.

I applaud the consultative process that informed the National Charter and note the complementary role it plays to the Government’s Vision 2030, the Second Mid Term Plan and the Government’s agenda of gender equality and women’s empowerment. As the Ministry responsible for Gender, the Ministry of Devolution and Planning is pleased to work in collaboration with partners committed to the Government’s existing policies and initiatives in the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment. As such, we welcome and applaud the hard work of all the organizations which is reflected in this Charter.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 It is also clear that the National Action Plan speaks to the Post 2015 Development Agenda on gender equality and the empowerment of women and is aligned to Kenya’s existing commitments in international law including International treaties, declarations and conventions that articulate the rights of women and girls such as the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Beijing Platform for Action, the Maputo Women’s Protocol, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

 Ladies and Gentlemen,

 Experience has taught us that democratic ideals of inclusiveness, accountability, and transparency cannot be achieved without laws and policies that address inequalities. This includes the existing disparities on gender equality. It is therefore paramount that we weave these ideals into the social, political and economic fabric of our society, such that beyond the legal framework girls and women are able to realize all their aspirations without limitations due to gender. Our goal as a Government is not merely to have a progressive legal and policy framework but to have a country where the laws support the practical realization of empowerment and equality for women and girls. To do this we need everyone to uphold the laws and the values of the Constitution. CSO, County and National government and men and women, we all need to work together to support inclusion and gender equality. Together we can ensure a country where girls have more choices than ever before in our history, so that their dreams, from being an engineer to being President are attainable.

 As you may be aware, this year marks two decades since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted by world leaders. The leaders committed to ensuring the development of policies and legislative frameworks aimed at promoting the rights of women and girls across the member states, equal participation of women in leadership, governance and decision making.

Ladies and Gentlemen

As a country that was privileged to host the third World Conference on Women in 1985, and as we look back, 20 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, in 1995, we have much to be proud of. Our Constitution recognizes gender equality and further endorses the not more than 2/3rds principle which guarantees the representation of women in elective and appointive positions in both levels of Government. Our Constitution further permits affirmative action to help realize gender equality. Today, women in parliament form 25 percent of elected representatives up from 9.9 percent in 2007. In the public service, out of the 18 Ministerial portfolios, women comprise 33.3 percent of cabinet appointees. We have made significant strides in the political representation of women but more still needs to be done. We need to continue expanding the space for women’s leadership and that requires nurturing young women. If you are an MCA, aspire to run for MP for your constituency and mentor a young woman to succeed you in the MCA role. Nominated MCAs and MPs, work with constituents to support your election and that of other women and run for elective office. We will not make it alone, we must move forward together.

Ladies and Gentlemen

As a country, we have distinguished ourselves globally by implementing transformative socio-economic programmes foremost among them the Preference and Reservation Regulations which provide that at least 30% of all public procurement is reserved for youth, women and persons with disabilities. Other initiatives are designed to improve access to enterprise capital include the Women Enterprise Fund, with the equivalent of USD 44 million dollars per annum exclusively for women, as well as the UWEZO Fund, which is approximately USD 70 million dollars per annum for groups of women and the youth and persons with disabilities.

These programmes which are fully funded by the Government clearly demonstrate the commitment by the leadership of our nation to empower Kenyan women. Empowering women will ensure they can contribute to the socio-economic development of the country while simultaneously improving their socio-economic status and that of their families. Research has shown that when women have assets and increased income they spend more money on their families: from nutrition, to health and education – women invest in the family. For every one dollar a woman earns 80 cents is spent on her family, men on the other hand invest only 30 cents for every dollar they earn in the family. Women spend almost three times more on the family than men. Putting more money in the hands of women means healthier, better educated citizens. This has a significant positive impact on national development. Women are a competitive advantage that we must as a nation harness to accelerate realization of our national development agenda. Empowering women is good governance and smart economics.

However, as we reflect on how far we have come, we also know that much more remains to be done. Women are still not equal partners in practice. The disproportionate dominance of women in unpaid work, particularly care services and other inequalities that exist in socio-economic and political spheres still need to be addressed to ensure women can experience full equality.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Of great importance to the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, is facilitating the implementation of relevant legislation, while ensuring gender mainstreaming and collecting gender disaggregated data to track progress and inform national policy. We are working hard, in collaboration with partners, to find a formula for the realization of the 2/3rds gender rule as the Supreme Court deadline of August 2015. We will also continue to monitor and support the 2/3rds gender rule in appointive offices. We also urge women to be vigilant in ensuring the 2/3rds gender rule is adhered to in appointments from Land County Management Boards to Water Boards, we need to be represented to ensure the needs of women and girls are adddressd. Finally, I know many of you here are already public leaders but we need to have more women in leadership especially younger women (under 35) and I urge each of us to nurture and support a young woman or two or three. We need to create the successors for our current roles and thereby free ourselves up for bigger opportunities. Let us make it a personal committment to expand the public space for women and make it easier for women to participte more fully in public life.

 Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion, I would like to re-affirm the Government’s commitment to the realization of gender equality and women’s empowerment. As the Ministry responsible for gender we shall continue to provide leadership in gender equality and ensure as a nation and as women of the nation we continue to move forward.

Let us capitalize and build on the synergies already established in making Kenya a better place for our women and girls. Let us work together in moving beyond the numbers to full access, inclusion and participation of women and girls in all spheres. No one CSO, or initiative can do this alone, we need everyone and I am committed to working with all organizations that ascribe to the principles of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

I am sure you have heard the proverb “If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to go far, walk together.” Ladies and Gentlemen let us commit to walk far. It is my sincere pleasure to launch this National Action Plan and I wish you all fruitful deliberations.

Thank You, and God Bless You

Asanteni

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